Man jailed on lewd conduct, child porn charges

SANDPOINT — Bail was set Monday at $100,000 for a Clark Fork man accused of molesting a Bonner County girl over a three-year period and documenting the sexual abuse with videos and photographs.

Joshua James Olson, 27, is charged with lewd and lascivious conduct of a minor and sexual exploitation of a child.

A downcast Olson had no visible reaction as he was formally advised of the charges during an initial appearance in magistrate court.

“Mister Olson, these are serious charges,” Judge Debra Heise reminded Olson, who appeared via video link from the Bonner County Jail.

An application for a public defender filled out by Olson showed he possessed significant stock holdings, cash on hand and other assets, although Olson said he expected to lose his job at Avista as a result of the criminal charges.

Heise tentatively appointed counsel while he is in custody, but told Olson he would have to reapply for a public defender if is able to post bond.

A preliminary hearing in the case is pending.

Bonner County sheriff’s investigators assisted the FBI in the search of Olson’s home on Washington Water Power Housing Road on Friday, according to a probable cause affidavit. Authorities were investigating a report that Olson was sharing child pornography via the Internet.

Olson, the affidavit said, agreed to be interviewed and admitted that he had a collection of child porn on a flash memory drive. A search of the flash drive yielded 24 videos and 67 photographs of Olson sexually abusing the child.

Other digital devices were seized during the search, but their contents have not been disclosed in court records.

The abuse occurred between 2010 and February of this year, when the girl was between the ages of 5 and 7.

Lewd conduct is punishable by up to life in prison. Sexual exploitation of a child is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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