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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whittington

Former WA Health executive confesses over child sex abuse material

Well-connected former powerbroker Kempton Cowan has pleaded guilty to almost a dozen charges of possessing and transmitting child abuse material after fronting Perth Magistrates Court.

The 56-year-old former longtime boss of Joondalup Health Campus pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing child abuse material, seven counts of acquiring child porn and one count of soliciting child abuse material on Friday, more than a year after WA Police raided his Mosman Park home.

WA Police discontinued two charges against him, including one for using a carriage device to access child porn and another for causing child pornography material to be transmitted using a carriage service.

Cowan is facing a lengthy jail term over the offences, which each carry a maximum penalty of 15 years jail.

The former health boss kept his head bowed as he left court alongside prominent Perth lawyer Michael Tudori.

Cowan was first thrust into the spotlight in March 2022, when WA Police claimed to have found videos on two iPhones and an iPad alongside an online request for child abuse material in his home.

The probe was launched after Interpol made contact with federal police claiming a UK-based teenager had told police about online communications she allegedly had with an Australian-based man.

Cowan was later linked to the messaging accounts used.

He helmed Joondalup Health Campus for almost two decades, working alongside state and federal governments on the expansion of the private-public hospital and was regularly photographed with senior politicians and business leaders at official events.

Cowan had worked in a strategic role as a Ramsay Health Care executive, but was stood down before resigning when the charges came to light.

His bail was extended and he is due to reappear in the District Court in July.

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