An Oregon man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for torturing and abusing three young sisters, who he had been trusted to care for.
On Monday, Andrew Franklin Kowalczyk, 44, was sentenced to 270 years in federal prison followed by a life term of supervised release, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon said in a press release.
The heartbreaking case unfolded in 2008 after police discovered Kowalczyk had made a number of homemade videos, which show him sexually abusing the young girls — an 8-year-old and 2-year-old twins.
Police first learned of Kowalczyk’s crimes after he was stopped by Des Moines, Washington Police for several traffic violations on Dec. 27, 2007. Kowalczyk refused to get out of his vehicle, which sparked a high-speed chase, the attorney’s office said.
Kowalczyk was arrested at Northwest Motor Inn in Puyallup, Washington the next day. Officers then seized Kowalczyk’s personal belongings, which included several pieces of luggage and a backpack.
In January 2008, police obtained a state warrant to search computer equipment, a digital camera and digital storage devices.
That’s when police made an alarming discovery.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
“The search returned a tremendous amount of child pornography, including a number of images and videos that appeared to be homemade,” the attorney’s office says.
The videos and images showed an unidentified male “sexually abusing two very young children.”
Metadata embedded in the digital images “revealed that they were created using the same camera found in Kowalczyk’s luggage.”
Puyallup Police later published certain “non-pornographic” images of the victims in hopes of identifying them. An adult woman came forward and confirmed the victims in the footage were her children and that Kowalczyk was a family friend.
The victims’ mother told police that she met Kowalczyk in 2003. He was a friend of her brother, who died.
RELATED: Woman Kills Sexually Abusive Dad After Finding His Child Porn — Including Photo of Herself
She explained that Kowalczyk had helped her and her kids after they ended up in a domestic violence shelter in 2005.
The woman said Kowalczyk offered to pay for them to stay in a motel. Between April and June 2005, Kowalczyk “arranged for the victims’ mother and her children to stay with or adjacent to him in three different Portland motels,” the attorney’s office says.
After the woman got on her feet, she and Kowalczyk later rented separate apartments.
During this time, the woman said she would often leave her three young girls with Kowalczyk while she looked for work.
“The victims’ mother believed Kowalczyk treated the victims well, buying them clothing, diapers, shoes, and even a birthday cake for their second birthday,” the attorney’s office says.
Investigators also recovered photos Kowalczyk took of himself, which shows him abusing two of the minor victims at the Portland motel rooms he rented for the family. He took sexually explicit photos of the third minor victim at his apartment in Southeast Portland.
On Feb. 2, 2008, a federal grand jury charged Kowalczyk but it was another 10 years before he faced trial. However, despite the delay, after a four-day trial and djust 20 minutes deliberation, Kowalczyk was convicted on nine counts of producing child pornography.
At his sentencing hearing on Monday his eldest victim, now 23, told U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman that she still feels as if there are “weights holding my body down,” The Oregonian reported.
“It turns out that Andrew was actually a monster,” the 23-year-old told Mosman, according to the outlet. “I know now that he was doing something to my sisters and I so that he could rape and molest us.”
The victims’ attorney Erin Olson explained that the two younger sisters have no memory of the abuse, “but they believe it.”
“Since it’s incomprehensible, they cannot imagine it, but they believe it,” Olson told the judge, The Oregonian reported.
“Andrew is evil itself,” the 23-year-old told the judge. “He deserves to rot in prison for the devilish things he’s done to me and my baby sisters.”
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.