AUGUSTA — Texts between a woman and a man on trial now for allegedly getting her to take and send him those images show he repeatedly asked for explicit video, according to a state prosecutor.

After seizing a cellphone belonging to Jared Jandreau, police later found what they said are sexually explicit images of a girl on that phone, including some in which the woman, Jessica Cox, engaged in unlawful sexual contact with her.

But defense attorneys say text messages between Jandreau and Cox were not preserved by state computer crimes experts in their full context, because the state did not preserve the many emoji the pair used in many of those communications. They argued it is hard to determine the intent of the texters without that full context.

Prosecutors said Jandreau, 36, formerly of China, was an accomplice who was able to get Cox, 32, of Augusta to take and send him numerous sexually explicit photographs and a video of a 6-year-old girl. He is charged under Maine’s accomplice liability standards, in which an accomplice in a crime can be charged with the same crime as the primary actor in that crime.

Jandreau is on trial facing 17 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, five counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of solicitation to commit a gross sexual assault.

On Tuesday, the second day of a jury trial, prosecutor Paul Rucha, an assistant attorney general, showed jurors a lengthy text message conversation thread between Jandreau and Cox from his cell phone in August 2017. In it, texts from Jandreau’s phone to Cox’s phone ask her to take video of the girl and send it to him, and also make reference to having seen explicit photographs of the girl. In at least one text, apparently sent from Cox to Jandreau as she was being pulled over by police, Jandreau urges her to delete the texts between them.


Rucha also showed jurors the 17 images tied to the charges against Jandreau, and the video of Cox with the girl, which Dawn Ego, a forensic analyst for the state computer crimes task force, said were taken from a cell phone which Rucha said belonged to Jandreau.

Darrick Banda, one of Jandreau’s two attorneys, with Tim Zerillo, noted the text messages contained only words. He said there were numerous symbols of a question mark and a diamond in many of them, and that some messages consisted only of those symbols. Banda said those symbols represented where emoji had been put in by the text senders.

Emoji are cartoon images commonly used in text messages. Banda said without those emoji, the text messages are lacking the full context of the communication between Jandreau and Cox, making it impossible to know the intent of those who wrote the texts.

He showed multiple versions of the same series of texts, with the same words in each, but each with a different set of emoji, to illustrate how, he said, emoji can change the meaning of someone’s words.

For example, he posted two texts with the words “That meal was great,” one followed by a series of three smiling yellow emoji, the other followed by three green emoji with sick-looking faces.

“That changes the meaning of the second sentence, does it not?” Banda said. “So, if we don’t know what emojis were used, and some texts were only emojis, aren’t we missing context? The emojis are part of the context. So we’re missing the content.”


Rucha responded by noting some of the messages did not have any emoji, and said it was clear what the texts meant. He referred to a text, from Jandreau’s phone, in which he allegedly texted, in part, “u should make a video with (a nickname for the girl) in it,” and suggesting the woman and child show off their female body parts.

When it first took Jandreau’s phone, Rucha said the state didn’t have the authority in its search warrant to look for messages between Jandreau and Cox, because the warrant was from a different case. He said the phone was given back to Jandreau and then seized again via another search warrant, but by then the texts were gone.

Computer crimes forensic examiners were able to find some texts from the data they originally extracted, but those did not include the emoji because the software used by the state to extract the data did not capture them. Ego said the state would not now be able to retrieve the emoji from Jandreau’s phone.

Police became involved after they discovered one of the images of the girl on Jandreau’s cellphone, while they were investigating another case.

Cox, 32, pleaded guilty in early June to nearly 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and five counts of unlawful sexual contact.

Cox was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, and six years of probation. If Cox complies with the conditions of her probation, she will serve only the five nonsuspended years. If she violates those conditions, she could face the full 10-year sentence.

Banda also confirmed with state computer crimes officials that they did not have documentation of when the sexually explicit photos were taken, or how they got into Jandreau’s phone. He said there is no evidence showing Cox sent them to Jandreau in response to their text messages.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.