Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Attorney General Abbott Nets Indictments Of Suspected Child Predators From Houston AreaHouston– Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today appeared before a Walker County grand jury to secure indictments against six Houston-area men and a Fort Worth man arrested during an undercover operation in Huntsville earlier this year. In making the arrests, investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit relied on satellite technology to access Internet chat rooms from remote locations.
“Our ability to track and arrest child predators who use the cover of a computer to victimize our children just got stronger,” said Attorney General Abbott. “These predators are willing to travel long distances to meet who they think are young girls for the purpose of having sex. We are more than willing to surprise them and arrest them, however.”
Working with the Walker County Sheriff’s Department, Cyber Crimes investigators set up the mobile computer crime lab in Huntsville. During the two week-long undercover operation, seven men – six from the Houston area and one from Fort Worth – traveled to Huntsville to meet children.
In each case, the men came to see who they thought were teenagers they had met in Internet chat rooms. In reality, the men had been talking with officers from the Cyber Crimes Unit, who arrested the men when they showed up to meet their young victims.
“I want to personally thank Walker County Sheriff Jean Sanders and District Attorney David Weeks for working with us to help make the Internet a safer place for Texas children,” said Abbott. “It is because of this cooperative spirit we enjoy with law enforcement that we’re able to put our specialized tools to work.”
Since May 2003, the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit has arrested 48 men who solicited teens online for sex.
The following individuals were arrested and indicted in Walker County:
|Houston-area men arrested by the Cyber Crimes Unit|
25-year-old Shawn Joseph Stauffer of Houston was arrested on April 22, after traveling to Huntsville to have sex with who he thought was a 13-year-old female. Stauffer was interviewed and booked into the Walker County jail. Stauffer, who is unemployed, was charged with attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. He remains in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Jason Wade Scott
21-year-old Jason Wade Scott of Richwood, arrested April 21, traveled from Brazoria County to have sex with a minor. Cyber Crimes investigators arrested Scott at a New Waverly gas station after he set up a rendevous with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. He is charged with attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. Bond was set at $100,000 and he remains in jail.
22-year old Patrick Craig of Spring was arrested on April 20, after going to Huntsville for what he thought would be a sexual meeting with a 13-year-old girl. Craig is a college student and is single. His bond was set at $100.000. He has since bonded out of jail.
Mohamed Khair Al-Kalla>
23-year-old Mohamed Khair Al-Kalla of Katy was arrested on April 20. Al-Kalla was arrested after traveling to Huntsville to have sex with what he thought would be a 14-year-old female. Al-Kalla, a student at the University of Houston, is charged with attempted sexual assault of a minor. His original bond was set at $150,000, but was later reduced to $60,000. He later bonded out of jail.
Michael Edward Penton
44-year-old Michael Edward Penton, of Magnolia in Montgomery County, was arrested on March 30 after going to Huntsville for what he thought would be a sexual rendezvous. Penton chatted on the Internet with who he believed were two children, ages 13 and 14, and had arranged to meet them. Penton is charged with attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child and attempted sexual assault of a child. Bond was set by a Walker County magistrate at $150,000. Penton has bonded out of jail.
Gregory Lee Battson
32-year-old Gregory Lee Battson of Houston was arrested March 25 after going from Houston to Huntsville for sex with what he thought was a teenage girl. Battson was employed as a salesman at Phoenix Pump, located in Houston. He is charged with attempted sexual assault of a child. His bond was set at $75,000 and he has since bonded out.
47-year-old Kent Steffler of Fort Worth was arrested on March 29 after driving to Walker County for sex with who he thought was an underage girl. Steffler traveled nearly 200 miles for the meeting. He was charged with attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. His bond was set at $100,000 and he bonded out in late March.