Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive



Monday, May 22, 2000

CORNYN PROSECUTES CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Judge gives 50 year sentence

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the successful prosecution of Gordon Simmonds of Jefferson County for possession of child pornography. Simmonds was sentenced today to 50 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division. Attorney General Cornyn has placed emphasis on prosecuting child pornographers, especially in their use of the Internet.

"Child pornography hurts the most vulnerable and innocent members of our society-our children. My office is vigilant in prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law these criminals who prey upon our children," said Attorney General Cornyn.

The state and federal cases against Simmonds originated when the Port Arthur Police Department was led to the Sabine Pass Motel in the course of investigating a runaway case. While making initial contact with Simmonds, police saw images of child pornography in the motel room. A complete search of the room revealed hundreds of images of child pornography and almost 100 video tapes of adult pornography and bestiality.

Forensic testing of Simmonds' computer, conducted by U.S. Customs, revealed thousands of images of child pornography on his computer's hard drive. It was this evidence which led to a federal case against Simmonds. On May 3, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison on the charge of Knowingly Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography. In state district court this morning, Simmonds was convicted of Possession of Child Pornography and sentenced to 50 years. Additionally, Simmonds must register as a sex offender with local law enforcement and DPS for the rest of his life.

Working with the Jefferson County District Attorney, Texas' case against Simmonds was handled by Assistant Attorney General Leslie McWilliams of the Internet Child Pornography Prosecution Unit (ICPPU) of the Attorney General's office. The ICPPU patrols the Internet to protect Texas children and prosecute violators of state child pornography laws.

Last year, the ICPPU gained another tool in the battle against online child pornography. The Attorney General announced a partnership with the Texas Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA) for referrals of suspected child pornography to the Attorney General's office for investigation and prosecution.

To register a complaint about child pornography, the public should contact the Attorney General's office at (512) 463-2170 or file a complaint online at www.oag.state.tx.us.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050