Josh Powell suffered a setback in his quest to get his kids back Wednesday when a Pierce County judge said she wouldn’t consider returning the boys to him until he underwent a psycho-sexual evaluation.
A mental health professional who examined Powell as part of the juvenile dependency matter involving his two young sons recommended the evaluation after learning Utah police investigating the disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell, found images of a questionable nature on a computer connected to Josh Powell.
What the images depict was not discussed in court, but it was clear they were of a sexual nature.
Susan Powell went missing in December 2009. She’s not been seen or heard from since.
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Josh Powell, who now lives in Pierce County, has been investigated in his wife’s disappearance but has not been charged. He denies having had anything to do with her disappearance.
He has said he took their sons – now 7 and 5 – on a late-night camping trip and returned to the family’s home in West Valley City, Utah, to find his wife gone.
Susan Powell’s parents, Charles and Judith Cox of Puyallup, blame their son-in-law for their daughter’s disappearance.
Josh Powell’s attorney, Jeffrey Bassett of Bremerton, argued Wednesday against the new evaluation, saying the images had not been proven to belong to his client. Bassett urged Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson instead to order Powell to undergo a polygraph examination regarding the images, something the attorney said would be less intrusive.
Nelson sided with Assistant Attorney General John Long, who urged her to order the evaluation as a safety precaution. The judge said that while the plan is eventually to reunite the boys with Powell she saw no harm in ordering the evaluation and having the boys continue to live temporarily with Coxes.
“I see no reason to disturb the current placement that is going so well for these children,” Nelson said.
She gave temporary custody to the Coxes in September after Josh Powell’s father, Steve Powell, was arrested on charges of voyeurism and possession of child pornography. Josh Powell was living with his father at the time.
He since has moved out and gotten his own place.
Nelson acknowledged that Powell is doing well in meeting the conditions she placed on him in September and reiterated that her plan is to reunite the family if he continues to meet those requirements. She also allowed him to continue having twice-a-week supervised visitation with the boys.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644