Tuesday, January 10, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit Obtains Indictment, Stiff Sentence Against 2 Child Predators

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit has obtained an indictment on three felony charges against a Fredericksburg man who used the Internet to solicit someone he thought was a child for sex. In a separate case, a College Station man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for attempting to meet a child for sex in Hays County in late 2004.

“I am pleased both state and federal authorities have taken these strong actions, which reflect Texans’ insistence that child predators be taken off the streets,” said Attorney General Abbott. “My Cyber Crimes Unit will push for punishment to the fullest extent of the law in every case we handle.”

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Robert Morris
Robert Morris
Benjamin Owens
Benjamin Owens

Benjamin Scott Owens, 26, enrolled in a masters in business administration program at Texas A&M University at the time of his arrest in December 2004, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin to five years in federal prison. He will be under supervised release for seven years following his prison term. He must also register as a sex offender. He attempted to meet a person whom he believed to be a 13-year-old girl at a San Marcos fast food restaurant.

A Gillespie County grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Robert Lee Morris, 23, who was arrested Nov. 2, 2005, at a fast food restaurant in Fredericksburg when he showed up for a meeting he had scheduled for sex. When he arrived, he discovered his intended victim was actually an undercover Cyber Crimes investigator. He is charged with attempted sexual performance by a child, online solicitation of a minor and criminal solicitation of a minor. Morris, who was employed at a Fredericksburg bakery when he was arrested, allegedly arranged the meeting through an online chat room. He is in Gillespie County Jail on $50,000 bond.

“My office will continue working to intercept these people before they strike, but these cases serve as another reminder to parents that child predators frequently lurk in chat rooms, waiting to victimize Texas children,” added Attorney General Abbott.

Cracking down on sexual predators is a top priority of Attorney General Abbott’s administration. His Cyber Crimes Unit has made 71 arrests since he took office in December 2002. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested 257 of these parolees. The Fugitive Unit has also arrested another 55 men and women in other operations.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.