Following an announcement today by Attorney General Eric Holder, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno today announced that the Department of Justice released its first ever Department of Justice National . The strategy provides the first ever comprehensive threat assessment of the dangers facing children from child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism, commercial sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation in Indian Country, and outlines a blueprint to strengthen the fight against these crimes. The strategy builds upon the department’s accomplishments in combating child exploitation by establishing specific, aggressive goals and priorities and increasing cooperation and collaboration at all levels of government and the private sector.
As part of the department’s overall strategy, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is launching a nationwide operation targeting the top 500 most dangerous, non-compliant sex offenders in the nation. Additionally, the department will create a national database to allow federal, state, tribal, local, and international law enforcement partners to deconflict their cases with each other, engage in undercover operations from a portal facilitated or hosted by the database, share information and intelligence, and conduct analysis on dangerous offenders and future threats and trends. The department also created 38 additional Assistant U.S. Attorney positions to devote to child exploitation cases, and over the coming months will work to fill the vacancies and train the new assistants in this specialized area.
“Although we’ve made meaningful progress in protecting children across the country, and although we’ve brought a record number of offenders to justice in recent years, it is time to renew our commitment to this work. It is time to intensify our efforts,” said Attorney General Holder. “This new strategy provides the roadmap necessary to do just that—to streamline our education, prevention, and prosecution activities; to improve information sharing and collaboration; and to make the most effective use of limited resources. Together, we are sending an important message—that the U.S. government, and our nation’s Department of Justice, has never been more committed to protecting our children and to bringing offenders to justice.”
“Our children are our most treasured resource, and like all valuable resources, are vulnerable to attack by sexual predators,” said U.S. Attorney Moreno. “Law enforcement and community efforts to protect our children from the dangers and devastation cause by sexual predators will remain one of our top priorities. In this area, every law enforcement agency, every school and every parent can participate in this effort to protect our future, our children.”
The strategy first analyzed the threat to our nation’s children and described the current efforts at all levels of the government against this threat. Since FY 2006, the Department of Justice has filed 8,464 Project Safe Childhood (PSC) cases against 8,637 defendants. These cases include prosecutions of online enticement of children to engage in sexual activity, interstate transportation of children to engage in sexual activity, production, distribution and possession of child pornography, and other offenses. In the Southern District of Texas, 129 PSC cases have been filed against 134 defendants during the same time period.
For PSC, the United States Attorney’s Office partners with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), U.S. Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Texas Attorney General, District Attorney’s offices in Harris and other counties throughout the district, and Department of Justice-funded Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which coordinates the enforcement efforts of more than 40 state, local, and federal agencies throughout a large section of the district to combat the sexual exploitation of children and with the USMS to prosecute those who fail to register as sex offenders. With the ever growing technology-based sexual exploitation crimes against children, national initiatives like the FBI’s Innocent Images and Innocence Lost, ICE-HSI’s Operation Predator, the USMS enforcement of the Adam Walsh Act seeking sex offenders who fail to register and fugitives from justice, expand the district’s efforts.
What does a child predator/exploiter look like? Through the combined efforts of our federal, state, and local partners, we know, and each of the cases below demonstrates, that there is no look, age, job, or profession that describes a child predator/exploiter. The predator/exploiter is a middle school choir teacher, a high school band director, a college professor, businessman, architect, a senior citizen, or a young man, or seemingly a friend offering food and shelter.
Ramiro C. Lozano, a former middle school choir teacher in Brownsville, Texas, admitted to having enticed three then-13-year-old students into posing for sexually explicit photographs at the school where he was employed. His exploitation of the children was discovered when Lozano was arrested for public intoxication by local police officers and a search of the car resulted in the discovery of several pornographic DVDs along with a laptop computer and a digital camera containing numerous images of child pornography including the photographs of the three young boys. Lozano was charged, convicted of sexual exploitation of children, and sentenced on July 13, 2010, to 235 months’ incarceration without parole to be followed by a 10-year-term of supervised release.
Billy Forrest Marquis Jr., a former teacher and band director, admitted to subscribing to several pay child pornography websites for three years beginning in 2006 from which he obtained hundreds of images of child pornography—dozens of which depicted child victims identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Marquis’ online hunt for child pornography was discovered after law enforcement shut down a child pornography website provider service and examined their records showing Marquis as a paid subscriber to various child pornography websites. A search of Marquis’ Edna, Texas home resulted the discovery of 213 images of child pornography. Convicted in April 2010 of possessing child pornography after pleading guilty, Marquis was sentenced on July 10, 2010, to 51 months in prison. Marquis has voluntarily surrendered his teaching license.
On June 9, 2010, former University of Texas-Pan American professor Brian S. Butler, of McAllen, Texas, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for receiving child pornography. Butler was convicted after admitting he accessed a child pornography website and downloaded more than 6,000 images and 200 videos of child pornography onto his home computer and external storage media. Butler’s child pornography collection included victimized children previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, including two who had been abused by relatives, who, in turn, placed images and videos of the sexual abuse of these children on the Internet.
William Arthur Doyle, a businessman, is serving 180 months in federal prison and has forfeited his residence to the United States after being convicted of producing 83 sexually explicit images of a Houston area minor and as well as other minors. The investigation leading to the charges began when Doyle unknowingly contacted a Milwaukee Police Department undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old boy in an online chat room. Doyle “chatted” with the officer several times, sent him images of child pornography and ultimately told the officer, believing him to be a 15 year-old boy, that he (Doyle) wanted to engage in sexual conduct. A week later, Doyle traveled to Milwaukee on business and sent a message to the officer asking to meet. Doyle was arrested at the prearranged meeting site. Officers searched Doyle’s rental car, finding a laptop which contained sexually explicit images of a 15-year-old Houston boy Doyle admitting to meeting online and eventually meeting in person in the Houston area. An additional computer found at Doyle’s residence resulted in the discovery of additional child pornography images, some of other teenage boys taken at Doyle’s Houston residence. Doyle pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and was sentenced on June 8, 2008.
On July 19, 2010, John Robert Dossey, an architect, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, admitting to taking sexually charged photographs of 16-year-old girls, some of which were pornographic. Computers seized from Dossey’s Houston home and office in March 2009 were found to contain pornographic images of one of the minor girls. He is pending sentencing.
73-year-old George Ivar Musick, who called himself “Seniorloverman” online, has been convicted attempting to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity by chatting on an online chat room dedicated to adults who are interested in engaging in sexual activities with minors. Musick unknowingly encountered an undercover detective posing as the 41-year-old mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 13, and began describing his desire to engage in sexual acts with the 13-year-old daughter and his willingness to travel to Corpus Christi to engage in these sexual acts with the child. During numerous chats Musick described the sexual acts he intended to perform on the child and told the child via e-mails of the need for their activities to remain a secret from everyone else. On Feb. 26, 2010, Musick traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity with the 13-year-old child but was met by investigating agent and arrested. Musick was convicted following a jury trial of attempted solicitation of a minor and is pending sentencing.
On July 28, 2010, 27-year-old Jerry Dennis Wilson, of Kingwood, Texas, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison to be followed by a 15-year term of supervised release requiring that he register as a sex offender for possessing child pornography. Wilson’s exploitive conduct was discovered when the mother of a 16-year-old boy found sexually explicit conversations between her son and Wilson on their computer. She reported the conversations and the investigation initiated resulted in discovery of the child pornography at Wilson’s home.
Richard Louis Cedor, 55, of Corpus Christi, the manager of a bait shop, who fled the country after being accused in state court with charges related to indecency with a child, was arrested in Mexico and returned to the U.S. in the custody of the USMS and later convicted in federal court of possessing more than 1000 images and videos depicting adults engaged in sexually explicit conduct with minors which he obtained via the Internet on his home computer. The discovery of the images was the result of the execution of a search warrant at Cedor’s residence prompted by his subscription to various child pornography websites. Cedor was sentenced on July 29, 2010, to 120 months in federal prison.
On March 24, 2010, a Houston jury convicted Barry Lernard Davis of sex trafficking of a minor and transporting the minor from Texas to Louisiana to engage in prostitution and of having coerced and enticed an adult to engage in prostitution. Davis lured the victims with promises of shelter, food, and material possessions. Once under his influence, they were controlled with both physical and sexual violence and the threat of deadly repercussions if they left him. He forced both victims to be tattooed with either his name or initials. Davis’ behavior demonstrated he was fully engaged in the world of pimps and prostitutes. Forensic analysis of Davis’s computer revealed pictures of both victims on his computer and hotel records verified he traveled out of state with the victims. Davis is pending sentencing.
Despite vigorously fighting all aspects of child exploitation, the department recognized that more work remains to be done. To that end, the department’s strategy lays out goals to increase coordination among the nation’s investigators, better train investigators and prosecutors, advance law enforcement’s technological capabilities, and enhance research to inform decisions on deterrence, incarceration, and monitoring. The strategy also includes a renewed commitment to public awareness and community outreach.
The Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and this district along with our PSC partners have taken steps to educate kids, parents, teachers, and the public at large of the dangers to our children and how to actively protect them through public service announcements, ad campaigns and community outreach efforts. In June 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office launched its own community outreach program as part of its PSC program directed at parents, teachers, administrators, and school enforcement personnel entitled “Internet Safety—It’s Not Just the Computer Anymore.” The hour-long presentation made by Assistant U.S. Attorneys with experience and expertise in the prosecution of child exploitation cases offers audiences valuable information and tips about child predators, cyberbulling, sexting, online video gaming, as well as how to spot signs that children may be at risk online and how to report such activity. Such presentations have already been made in Brownsville and Houston and one is being made today in the Corpus Christi area. More are scheduled throughout the district.
As part of its public outreach efforts, the department today re-launched ProjectSafeChildhood.gov, the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) public website. PSC is a department initiative launched in 2006 that aims to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, tribal, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.