Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit officers observed National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April following a highly successful year that landed 36 suspected online sex predators and child pornographers in jail.
The Cyber Crimes Unit’s arrest total included 15 individuals who were charged with online solicitation of a minor for placing or responding to online advertisements seeking sexual encounters with children. Five other suspects were arrested for initiating online chats on social networking sites to sexually proposition children. An additional 16 suspects were arrested on child pornography charges.
To enhance the law enforcement community’s access to information about the technological advances that will help slow the growing threat of online child pornography networks, the Texas Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force hosted an ICAC training conference in Austin last week. Task force officers from the Houston Metro ICAC Task Force, the Dallas ICAC Task Force and various ICAC Task Force affiliates from around the State also attended the training, which was sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Fox Valley Technical College ICAC Training and Technical Assistance Program.
Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement about the Cyber Crimes Unit’s successful undercover operations:
“In only the past year, our Cyber Crimes Unit officers have arrested three dozen suspected child predators who used online advertisements or social networking websites to seek sexual encounters with children. Parents and law enforcement authorities must work cooperatively to educate children and teenagers about the potentially dangerous criminals hiding behind seemingly benign online profiles or online advertisements. National Child Abuse Prevention Month highlights our focus on arresting child predators and keeping Texas neighborhoods safe for our children.”
Attorney General Abbott added: “We are grateful to the local, state and federal law enforcement officials from around the state who helped make these arrests possible and continue to work with the Cyber Crimes Unit to protect Texas families.”
Online advertisement, social networking website arrests
Since May 2012, Cyber Crimes Unit officers have identified and arrested 20 suspected online predators who used online advertisements or social networking websites to seek sexual encounters with children. On June 14, 2012, for example, cyber officers arrested Charles Phillip Dalton, 46, of Collin County for online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony. According to state investigators, Dalton initiated and conducted sexually graphic online chats with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Dalton also sent the girl sexually explicit, live video of himself. Cyber Crimes Unit officers identified and arrested Dalton, transporting him to the Collin County Jail.
In addition to Dalton, the Cyber Crimes Unit arrested the following suspects over the past year who used online advertising and social networking websites to seek sexual encounters with children:
• Jason Wayne Kraft, 25, of Bastrop County
• Robert Bohanek, 44, of Bexar County
• Kenneth Wayne Guinn, 40, of Bosque County
• Richard Raymone Kaiser, 50, of Dallas County
• Richard Guerrero, 51, of El Paso County
• Jason Michael Walker, 27, of Hays County
• Nicholas A. Hernandez, 32, of Nueces County
• Matthew Wilhelm Rains, 53, of Travis County
• Nicholas Orion Templin, 24, of Travis County
• Matthew Ciampi, 35, of Travis County
• Allan Dee Paiz, 34, of Travis County
• Randal Stuart DeRego , 20, of Travis County
• Joshua Raymond Urtado, 29, of Travis County
• Michael Lynn Allen, 62, of Williamson County
• Kenneth Alan Peters, 51, of Williamson County
• Russell Felix Shepersky, 37, of Williamson County
• Kyle Michael Francis, 29, of Williamson County
• Gregory W. Goss, 57, of Hudson, New Hampshire
• Alberto Gomez, 34, of Mexico
Child pornography arrests
Over the past year, the Cyber Crimes Unit also arrested 16 suspects on child pornography charges, including Stephen Gary Jones, 46, of Liberty County. The Cyber Crimes Unit’s investigation of Jones stemmed from a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Based on the NCMEC referral, Cyber Crimes Unit investigators identified Jones as the suspect who appeared to have illegally uploaded an image of child pornography to a website. Cyber Crimes Unit officers executed a search warrant at Jones’s residence and confiscated a desktop computer, a laptop computer, numerous phones and multiple media storage devices. According to cyber investigators, an initial forensic examination of Jones’s external media hard drives revealed multiple videos of child pornography.
The Cyber Crimes Unit also arrested the following suspects on child pornography charges during the past year:
• James Witt, 24, of Bastrop County
• Larry Dale Reese, 55, of Bell County
• David Andrew Skoog, 40, of Bexar County
• Jason Randolph Bush, 30, of Harris County
• Robert Paul Bales, 62, of Kerr County
• Lawrence Raymond Johnson, 69, of Kerr County
• David Leroy Shannon, 46, of Polk County
• Jose Teran, 37, of Travis County
• Rene De La Cruz, 31, of Travis County
• Travis J. Whiteman, 27, of Travis County
• Jason Villasana, 35, of Uvalde County
• Jonathan Patrick Blevins, 40, of Walker County
• David Scott Cummings, 42, of Washington County
• John Richard Montalvo, 42, of Wharton County
• Robert Beecher Cameron, 58, of Williamson County
The Texas Attorney General’s Office works closely with federal, state and local officials across Texas to investigate and prosecute child sexual predators. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice designated the Attorney General’s Office as ICAC Task Force for the South Texas Region, which includes 134 counties. As the home of a federally-funded ICAC Task Force, the Attorney General’s Office receives grant funding from the Justice Department for both peace officers and prosecutors. Child predators arrested by the Attorney General’s Office have been prosecuted in both state and federal courts.
To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s ongoing efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the attorney general’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.