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Ashland resident James Auchincloss was sentenced to eight months in jail Thursday at the Jackson County Circuit Court in Medford. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

Auchincloss sentenced to additional time in jail

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge revoked probation for Ashland resident James Auchincloss and sentenced him Thursday to eight months in jail for each of two felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse.

Auchincloss' two eight-month sentences will run concurrently, and Judge Tim Gerking gave the half-brother of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis credit for 51/2; months already served. The time already served included his original 30-day sentence and time in jail and in home detention for failing to comply with his probation conditions.

Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe said the judge's ruling means Auchincloss will spend about 21/2; more months in the county jail starting next Tuesday. Hoppe said he was pleased with Thursday's sentencing.

"It doesn't matter if you're from a dynasty family or if you went to South Medford High School," he said. "That's all we were asking for was equal justice."

Auchincloss, 64, and his attorney had no comment.

Auchincloss pleaded guilty in August to the two felony counts for having images on his computer of naked boys. He was originally sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of post-prison supervision.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and complete a court-ordered evaluation and treatment program, which includes polygraph testing and group therapy.

But Auchincloss' probation officer, Glen Sandy, and Penni Farrell, a psychologist who runs the group therapy sessions, said he failed to comply with the treatment.

Auchincloss served a second 30-day sentence, but that did not change his pattern of denial, the judge said, adding Auchincloss had denied the violation, denied the crimes and was denying he needed therapy for his pornography addiction, Gerking said.

"He's feeling he's somehow different," Gerking said. "Like the rules should be adjusted."

Auchincloss was placed on home detention after being kicked out of the treatment program. Prosecutors sought to have his probation revoked since he failed to comply with his probation requirements, which necessitated this week's hearings on whether Auchincloss should be returned to jail.

On Tuesday, Gerking heard testimony from two psychologists hired by Auchincloss' defense attorney, Carl Caplan, who said Auchincloss was incapable of completing the group therapy as ordered because he had cognitive deficiencies brought on by brain damage due to disease or injury. The psychologists said the neurological problem caused Auchincloss to embellish stories, add random information about his life among the political elite and made him unable to correctly track conversations.

Caplan argued Thursday that Auchincloss had been publicly humiliated, and that the case had received more media attention "than a murder trial." The stress has changed Auchincloss, making him "frightened," Caplan said.

"He's so scared he's going to do something to send himself back to prison," Caplan said.

Gerking, however, said Auchincloss' failure to follow the treatment requirements didn't correlate with symptoms of brain injury or illness. Evidence brought before the court stated that Auchincloss had "shrink-wrapped" pornography and put it in a storage locker for retrieval after his probationary period ended. The behavior was more in line with someone who was evading responsibility for their crimes, the judge said.

"The evidence shows that Mr. Auchincloss has no real interest in breaking his addiction to porn," Gerking said.

Gerking concluded, however, that Auchincloss didn't pose a danger to the community as there was no evidence of additional victims. The judge also referenced a series of letters written by Auchincloss' friends and supporters who had written "wonderful letters" on his behalf, which Gerking said he found to be "extremely sincere."

Gerking could have sentenced Auchincloss to as much as 18 months in prison.

Gerking also recommended that Auchincloss be given individual, as opposed to group, sex offender treatment and counseling upon his release. He ordered that Auchincloss bear the cost of the treatment.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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