Thursday, June 30, 2005

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Attorney General Abbott Obtains First Southeast Texas Child Solicitation Conviction

AUSTIN - Attorney General Greg Abbott today lauded the conviction and sentencing of Muhammad A. Qadeer, 33, of Beaumont on charges of criminal solicitation of a minor, a second-degree felony. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 252nd District Court to three years in prison and fined $1,000.

Qadeer is the first southeast Texas man to be prosecuted under Attorney General Abbott’s crackdown on Internet predators. A citizen of Pakistan, he faces the possibility of deportation upon completing his prison term.

Beaumont child sex predator arrested
by the Cyber Crimes Unit
Muhammad Qadeer

“Sexual predators like this man have made the Internet an often dangerous place for children to be,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Protecting children is one of my top priorities, and this conviction and sentence demonstrate that Texas will not tolerate this type of abhorrent activity.”

The case came to light after a distraught 12-year-old girl in Missouri reported to her mother that she thought a man who had sent her more than 200 sexually explicit e-mails had attempted to commit suicide. The child’s mother reported the incident to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn alerted the Beaumont Police Department and Attorney General Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit. The ensuing investigation revealed evidence that Qadeer had sexually solicited the girl.

Qadeer, who at the time was a data entry employee for a large Beaumont firm, was arrested by Cyber Crimes officers on Feb. 17, 2005. He was indicted by a grand jury on May 19.

Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. His Fugitive and Cyber Crimes units have arrested nearly 260 child sex predators since he created the units in 2003. Cyber Crimes investigators assume the identity of underage teens in Internet chat rooms, which often leads to child predators soliciting them for sex and then attempting to meet them. Predators agree to meet the person they think is a child, but are surprised to find out the “child” is actually a Cyber Crimes investigator. The Fugitive Unit works to pinpoint and arrest convicted child sex offenders who have violated parole and could be stalking children.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011. The Attorney General has also created a multimedia Kids’ Page (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/kids), which includes tips and games to educate children about how to stay safe while online.