MEDFORD, Ore. — A prosecutor called it a "law enforcement officer's worst nightmare" -- police had photographs of an unidentified man sexually assaulting a young girl but no other leads to go on.
But less than 24 hours after a tipster dropped off a digital camera containing the images at the Medford police station, officers apprehended the suspect. They got a search warrant and arrived at the home of 55-year-old Gregory Dean Looper to find him in bed, partially dressed, with a 7-year-old girl, said J. Adam Peterson, Jackson County deputy district attorney.
Looper pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a result of a plea deal with the district attorney's office, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.
Police got the camera in August, and the person who dropped it off provided no other information, Peterson said.
Detectives got a warrant to search the camera and received help from a high-tech task force of local and state officers. They retrieved more than 50 images from the camera that depicted an unidentified adult male sexually abusing a young girl, Peterson said.
"The police had images of a little girl and male body parts," Peterson said. "This is a law enforcement officer's worst nightmare. You know you have a victim in harm's way, a child who is actually being abused. … It was a long night. We knew we had to act now."
Other photos in the camera led police to the general location of Looper's place, where police began interviews that led them to the suspect, Peterson said.
Looper was indicted in August. He said nothing at the sentencing hearing, other than to render his guilty pleas. His public defender, Bob Abel, said Looper was remorseful.
The sentences were required under Oregon's mandatory minimums. The charges were rape and using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. Peterson said they mean Looper will be imprisoned until he is 80.
"I hope for her sake that she grows up putting this behind her as best she can," said Judge Tim Barnack, adding he assumed Looper wished the same for the child.
The victim's mother wept, and declined to comment.