Onassis Half Brother Accused of Having Child Porn

August 26, 2009 - 11:12 AM
Jamie Auchincloss is well known and well liked in this storybook town for his longtime support of local theater, his videos of Democratic political events, and being the half brother to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

This Monday, Jan. 21, 2008 picture shows James Auchincloss. The half brother to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was indicted on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 on felony charges of encouraging child sexual abuse in Oregon. Auchincloss was indicted on 25 counts of abuse resulting from the alleged duplication and possession of images of child pornography. (AP Photo/The Medford Mail Tribune, Jim Craven)

Ashland, Ore. (AP) - Jamie Auchincloss is well known and well liked in this storybook town for his longtime support of local theater, his videos of Democratic political events, and being the half brother to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
 
So when authorities announced Tuesday that Auchincloss had been indicted on charges of encouraging child sexual abuse by possessing, duplicating and disseminating child pornography, friends and neighbors rose to defend him.
 
"I don't think Jamie's a danger to the community," said Amy Welden, a stay-at-home mom who lives in the same quiet cul-de-sac as Auchincloss's landscaped craftsman-style bungalow, said Tuesday after a Jackson County grand jury in Medford indicted him on 25 felony counts.
 
"We have a child that Jamie's never shown the slightest interest in," she said.
 
But Eddy McManus, the 44-year-old former personal assistant whose allegations led to the long and highly visible probe, said he felt vindicated by the indictments.
 
"It's been years of warning him, really," McManus said.
 
In October, police searched Auchincloss's home and found a large number of graphic images of young boys, according to court documents. When the information was printed in local newspapers, friends like Ragan Cavanaugh and her husband, Gerry, wrote letters supporting Auchincloss.
 
"It's so unfair," Ragan Cavanaugh said. "Even if he is found innocent, he will be guilty in everyone's eyes."
 
Auchincloss then resigned from the board of Oregon Stage Works, saying at the time it was "a matter for the courts" but otherwise declining to comment.
 
Auchincloss, 62, moved from Washington, D.C., to Ashland in the 1990s, along with many retirees attracted by the town's Oregon Shakespeare Festival, good restaurants, Southern Oregon University and liberal attitudes that stand out starkly in a rural region dominated by conservative politics.
 
An heir to a wealthy family that made a fortune in oil and financing, Auchincloss briefly took the national stage at the age of 6 when he carried the bridal train of his half sister Jackie up the aisle as she married John F. Kennedy in 1953.
 
But friends of Auchincloss say Jackie later treated him like a pariah. Various reasons have been given, including the fact that Auchincloss served as a source for the racy Onassis biography titled "Jackie, Oh," by author Kitty Kelley.
 
After moving to Ashland, he traveled frequently, friends and neighbors said. He served on the board of Oregon Stageworks, attended events at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rogue Valley, and gave lectures for retirees on Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt.
 
He held election parties for fellow Democrats and discussions on evolutionary biology at his home, showed off his collection of videos of political campaigns, and shot his own videos of the local Fourth of July Parade.
 
"I think he is a very gentle, sweet, kind, thoughtful person who would harm no one," said Cavanaugh, a retired grammar school teacher.
 
Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe said Auchincloss is not charged with any production, sale or distribution of child pornography - only possession and duplication - meaning that he may not have to serve any jail time if convicted.
 
"For someone who has no criminal history, such as Mr. Auchincloss, it's possible that probation is available to them," Hoppe said. A plea bargain is typical for the charges against Auchincloss and that he likely would remain free pending resolution of the case, he added.
 
No arraignment has been scheduled and Auchincloss was not immediately in custody, authorities said.
 
No one answered his door Tuesday evening and neither Auchincloss, nor his lawyer, Carl Caplan of Medford, returned telephone calls.
 
A co-defendant, Dennis Lee Vickoren, was indicted Tuesday on 30 separate felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse by possessing, duplicating and disseminating child pornography.
 
Hoppe said Vickoren did not have an attorney and would be sent a letter notifying him of the charges. No phone listing for Vickoren, of Eagle Point, could be found.
 
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McCall reported from Portland, Ore.