‘Evil itself:’ Man gets 270 years in ‘worst’ child sex abuse case Oregon court has seen
PORTLAND, Ore. — A former Portland man was sentenced to 270 years in prison for sexually abusing, exploiting, and torturing three children.
Andrew Kowalczyk, 44, was also sentenced Monday, Sept. 9 to a life term of supervised release after years of litigation and attempts to obstruct justice, including soliciting the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecutors said.
“What this defendant did to these children is simply unexplainable,” U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin said Monday, according to The Oregonian. “In terms of the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, this defendant is the worst this courthouse has ever seen.”
Law enforcement first learned of Kowalczyk’s crimes in early 2008, according to court documents and information shared during trial. On Dec. 27, 2007, Kowalczyk was pulled over by a police officer in Des Moines, Washington and refused to step out of the vehicle, leading police on a high-speed chase that was later terminated for public safety reasons, prosecutors said.
Kowalczyk did not own the vehicle he was driving, did not have a driver’s license, and gave the officer a false name, prosecutors said. He was arrested the next day at Northwest Motor Inn in Puyallup, Washington while attempting to leave in a cab. Police seized Kowalczyk’s personal belongings from the hotel, including several pieces of luggage and a backpack.
In January 2008, Puyallup police officers obtained a warrant to search computer equipment, a digital camera, and digital storage devices found in Kowalczyk’s luggage. Law enforcement found “a tremendous” amount of child pornography, including a number of images and videos that appeared to be homemade, prosecutors said. Numerous files depicted an unidentified male sexually abusing two very young children. Metadata embedded in many of the digital images revealed that they were created using the same camera found in Kowalczyk’s luggage.
Puyallup police later published non-pornographic images of the victims found on Kowalczyk’s devices in an attempt to identify them. The victims’ mother saw the images, contacted police, and told investigators she frequently left her children alone in Kowalczyk’s care while she searched for work or housing. She said Kowalczyk, a friend of her dead brother, offered to pay for them to stay in a motel after she and her kids wound up in a domestic violence shelter.
The victims’ mother said she was unaware of the abuse and believed Kowalczyk treated her kids well, buying them clothing, diapers, shoes, and even a birthday cake, prosecutors said. The cake with the victims’ names on it appeared in some of the non-pornographic images found on Kowalczyk’s devices, according to the attorney’s office.
Investigators were later able to track down the Portland motel rooms Kowalczyk rented for the family. Kowalczyk took photos of himself sexually abusing two of the minor victims at each location. He took sexually explicit photos of the third minor victim at his apartment in southeast Portland.
“Andrew is evil itself,” said one of his now-teenage victims who sat in the back of the courtroom Monday. “He deserves to rot in prison for the devilish things he’s done to me and my baby sisters.”
The two girls were still in the care of the state, The Oregonian reported, and the older sister continued to struggle with feelings of guilt for not having protected her younger sibling. She said she also suffered from night terrors and had a hard time sleeping.
A federal grand jury in February 2008 charged Kowalczyk with a single count of sexual exploitation of children; a superseding indictment with eight additional counts of sexual exploitation of children was returned on March 21, 2012.
After he was first indicted, Kowalczyk sought the replacement of counsel more than a dozen times and filed extensive motions to suppress evidence, causing a decade-long delay in bringing the case to trial, according to prosecutors, who said he also attempted to obstruct justice from prison by asking his father to retrieve incriminating hard drives before they could be seized by law enforcement, and soliciting the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney.