Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Three Defendants Investigated by Cyber Crimes Unit Indicted, Arrested on Federal Child Pornography ChargesHOUSTON – Three Houston-area defendants investigated by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit were indicted on federal child pornography charges, including pressuring children into sexually explicit behavior which was broadcast over the Internet by a Web camera. All three suspects will be prosecuted by the Cyber Crimes Unit in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested Perry Gobel Adkins, 58, Tuesday after a Houston federal grand jury indicted him Dec. 13 on one count of sexual exploitation of children; two counts of receipt of child pornography; and one count of possession of child pornography. The grand jury also indicted Victor Saavedra, 54, on two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of receipt of child pornography. He was arrested by the Houston Police Department Tuesday. Sexual exploitation of a minor carries a mandatory minimum punishment of 15 years in federal prison.
The grand jury also indicted Keith Hernandez, 23, of La Marque, on one count each of possession and receipt of child pornography. Hernandez was taken into custody Monday by the FBI. If convicted, Hernandez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison.
“Children and parents must cautiously avoid Web-based strangers who might be dangerous cyber predators,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Children who receive cyber threats or other unwanted advances online should alert their parents and, if necessary, contact authorities immediately. The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue protecting children by aggressively investigating and prosecuting online predators. We are grateful to U.S. Attorney Donald DeGabrielle, Jr. for his commitment to Texas children.”
The Cyber Crimes Unit began investigating Adkins after the Edmonton Police Service in Alberta, Canada, received a cybertip from a social networking site. The complaint indicated that one of the site’s adult users compelled an underage girl to engage in sexually explicit behavior, which was broadcast online with a Web camera. After allegedly tracking the account to Adkins, Cyber Crimes Unit investigators uncovered several child pornography images and video on his computers and external media.
Cyber Crimes Unit investigators conducted a forensic analysis on Saavedra’s computers after receiving a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicating Saavedra lured two underage children into sexually explicit Web camera displays. According to investigators, Saavedra’s computers contained several child pornography images and video.
A Cyber Crimes Unit investigator working undercover in an online chat room allegedly was directed by another user to view Hernandez’s online profile, which contained child pornography. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators conducted a forensic analysis of Hernandez’s computer and external media and found several images and video of child pornography.
Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting child predators. He reminded parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet activities by using the following safety tips:
• Teach children never to give out personal information online. Specifically, they should never divulge their last name, birthday, home address or telephone number, especially in a chat room, over an online bulletin board, or to an online pen pal, without your permission.
• Make sure your children know never to agree to a face-to-face meeting with someone they meet online.
• Instruct your children never to respond to e-mail or chat messages that make them feel uncomfortable or from someone they don’t know. Urge them to show such messages to you.
• Surf the Internet with your kids. If it is not possible for you to actually surf with your children, at least talk to them about the Web sites they are visiting.
• Place the computer in a public room at home so that even when you are not surfing online with your children, you can monitor their use. Do not allow computers in a child’s bedroom or permit the use of Web cameras.
• Establish ground rules for your children’s Internet usage, including the hours they may surf and the kinds of Web sites they may visit. Post the rules near the computer.
• Learn how to use parental controls and archiving features. You should be able to check your child’s e-mail account and review the sites your child has visited on the Internet.
Today’s cases are part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative that encourages the use of multi-jurisdictional task forces to investigate and prosecute the sexual exploitation of children online. In Texas, investigative assistance in these cases is provided by the Texas Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is one of almost 50 federally funded task forces across the country dedicated to this project. For more information on Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Since 2003, the Cyber Crimes Unit and Fugitive Unit have arrested more than 600 sex predators. Prosecutors also have obtained convictions against more than 70 men on child pornography charges.
For more information, contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.