AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced his Cyber Crimes Unit has obtained indictments by a Victoria County grand jury against Rickie Lee Smith on child pornography charges. Smith, a 50-year-old delivery truck driver, was indicted on 10 counts of promotion of child pornography and seven counts of child pornography possession.
In an unrelated case, Cyber Crimes Unit investigators also logged their 60th arrest by apprehending Johnathan Keith Kana, a seminary student from Lee County, who traveled to Hays County allegedly to meet an individual he thought was an underage girl for sex.
These child predator cases show, once again, why it is so important to track these people down and put them behind bars, Attorney General Abbott said. Sex offenders are endangering children across the nation, as recent national news reports have demonstrated, and I am committed to making Texas communities safer for all children and families.
A search warrant was executed at Smith’s Victoria apartment in January and Smith fled to York, Pa., in late January or early February to avoid arrest by Cyber Crimes investigators. Police officers in York arrested Smith on April 14 and he was extradited to Texas on May 20. He has been in jail in Victoria on $50,000 bond since that time.
Promotion of child pornography is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Child pornography possession is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Smith’s case was referred to the Attorney General by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had received the referral from Yahoo.
Kana, 23, was arrested in Buda after attempting to meet a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he had solicited on the Internet for sex. In fact, the girl was an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who had been chatting with Kana online. At the time of the arrest, he was a student at a theological seminary in Illinois.
Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. In addition to the Cyber Crimes Unit, which he established in 2003, his Fugitive Unit works to pinpoint and arrest convicted child sex offenders who have violated parole and could be stalking children. To date, the Fugitive Unit has arrested more than 200 such parole violators. The Fugitive Unit also has arrested 16 unregistered sex offenders as part of Operation Missing Predator, a statewide initiative launched in April by Attorney General Abbott to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who are not registered.
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.