By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded to a local detective led to a 15-year-old Lewis County girl who had uploaded images of herself to her Facebook account, showing her unclothed private parts.
Of particular interest to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was a photo of the girl with a penis in her mouth, and Facebook text messages between her and a 21-year-old that suggested an intimate relationship.
Sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty this week went to the girl’s address and spoke to a relative who said she hadn’t been home in two weeks, but had a boyfriend who lived in Onalaska.
McGinty found the girl there and interviewed her, learning she and Cody M. Cothran, 21, were boyfriend and girlfriend and that he allegedly took the picture in question, of the two of them, according to court documents.
She told McGinty that Cothran knew she was only 15, according to court documents.
“She said Cody told her to be careful who she told about their relationship and that he could get into trouble if their relationship was discovered,” court documents state.
McGinty placed Cothran under arrest and read him his Miranda warnings, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher wrote.
That was on Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon, Cothran was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.
He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, an offense with a maximum penalty of 10 year in prison. He is also charged with third-degree rape of a child. That crime can bring as much as five years behind bars.
Charging documents don’t indicate if Facebook had removed the photos from the girl’s page. They don’t state if the text exchanges between the two were viewable by the public, or if they were private messages that the detective somehow accessed.
There is no indication the girl is in trouble.
Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge Cothran is unemployed and qualified for a court appointed lawyer.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio said Cothran has no prior criminal convictions of any sort.
Judge Nelson Hunt allowed Cothran to remain free pending his trial, based on a $25,000 unsecured bond co-signed by his grandfather.
Judge Hunt ordered Cothran to turn over any computer he has to his newly appointed lawyer, David Brown by his arraignment.