Superior Court Judge Jon B. Wood sentenced James Lee Lowery to 20 years in prison for each of two felony counts of child molestation and one-year prison terms for each of 75 misdemeanor charges of possessing child pornography, which will run concurrently with both 20-year sentences. A jury found Lowery, 57, guilty of the charges on Wednesday, following about six hours of deliberation.
“The purpose of this sentence is to segregate you from the rest of us, so you can’t harm anybody else,” Judge Wood told Lowery during sentencing.
Lowery was arrested in March 2003, after police searched his home at 97 McCraw Street in Rossville and discovered Polaroid pictures of underage children involved in sexual activity and child pornography in his computer files. He initially faced 156 sex crime charges, but Judge Wood found Lowery not guilty of one count of aggravated child molestation, one count of child molestation and 75 counts of bringing child pornography images into Georgia.
“My actions and the things I’ve done I deeply regret and wish they had never happened,” Lowery said prior to sentencing. “Now I have to face the fact.”
Following the court’s ruling Lowery called the sentence a “little harsh” and said he may appeal the judge’s ruling.
According to Len Gregor, assistant district attorney for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, only one victim was named in the case, but Lowery is suspected of molesting other children. Gregor said Lowery lured neighborhood boys under the age of 16 to his home with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
The victim in the case, now age 17, testified that Lowery began molesting him when he was 12-years-old.
Gregor said Lowery, who was a truck driver, would often take the victim on trips to places like Nevada, California and New York.
“He is the very embodiment of evil,” Gregor said. “He preyed on the most vulnerable and weakest kids; runaways and kids who had no semblance of a family structure. Our victim is still under his spell and identified Lowery as a father figure in court. I told the jury, ‘In some sick, twisted, sad way he is a father figure to this boy.’”
Gregor said the district attorney’s office submitted more than 5,400 pieces of child pornography into evidence in the case, including pictures of a child as young as three engaged in sexual activity with an adult. Gregor said the evidence submitted “was only a small sample” of Lowery’s child pornography collection.
He said the district attorney’s office is unsure how long Lowery had been preying on children. The prosecutor noted that Lowery had been the subject of previous investigations in Walker County in 2001, but due to lack of witness cooperation the cases were never brought to trial