A middle school guidance counselor accused in August of sexually assaulting a child made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday on child pornography charges.
Robert Cowan, 48, was charged in circuit court on two counts of sexual battery with a child under 12 and remains held without bond in the Duval County jail.
Earlier this month, an eight-page federal indictment accused Cowan of two counts of producing child pornography, three counts of receiving child pornography and two counts of possessing child pornography.
The document said some of the victims in pornographic material found on Cowan's computer appeared to be as young as 1 and 2 years old.
He faces arraignment Jan. 5.
If convicted of all the federal charges, Cowan could face up to 140 years in prison.
According to school records, Cowan worked as a guidance counselor at several schools in Duval County from 1993 to 2006, when he left to become assistant principal at Yulee Elementary School in Nassau County. He returned to Duval in 2007 to become assistant principal at Arlington Middle School. He had just returned to Fort Caroline Middle as a guidance counselor days before he was arrested.
Cowan remains suspended without pay. Duval County Schools spokeswoman Jill Johnson said the district was in the process of terminating Cowan, but he requested a special hearing before the school board before that could happen.
"His attorney informed (us) this morning he is no longer requesting that hearing, so we are now able to move forward with his termination," Johnson said.