Wednesday, August 31, 2005

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Attorney General Abbott Applauds Stiff Sentences Against Irving, Houston Child Predators

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today praised 10-year prison sentences against each of two men – one from Irving, one from Houston – for attempting to meet what they thought were young teenaged girls for sex after talking with them on the Internet.

A Hood County jury found Ashutosh H. Trivedi, 42, of Irving, guilty of criminal solicitation of a minor after only 30 minutes of deliberations. Trivedi elected to go directly to the judge during the punishment phase and was sentenced on Tuesday to the maximum of 10 years in prison. The Attorney General assisted Hood County District Attorney Robert Christian in the case.

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Ashutosh H. TrivediShawn Stauffer

Shawn Joseph Stauffer, 26, of Houston, admitted his guilt and received a 10-year prison sentence on a charge of attempting to commit sexual assault of a child. The Attorney General collaborated with Walker County District Attorney David Weeks in prosecuting the case.

“These stiff sentences demonstrate my office’s determination to get and keep child predators off Texas streets,” Abbott said. “I want to thank District Attorneys Weeks and Christian for their commitment to the safety of Texas children. Sex offenders must realize that the Lone Star State will not tolerate this predatory behavior.”

Trivedi was arrested on Aug. 4, 2004, after traveling from Irving to Granbury to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet. When he arrived, however, he discovered the “girl” was actually an investigator with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. His trial in the 355th District Court lasted two days. Stauffer was also surprised to find Cyber Crimes investigators waiting for him on April 22, 2004, after he traveled from Houston to Huntsville to have sex with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he met online. Stauffer admitted his guilt and received his sentence on Aug. 29 in the 278th District Court of Walker County.

Abbott’s Cyber Crimes and Fugitive Units have arrested more than 310 sexual predators since he took office in December 2002. The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, has made 63 arrests to date. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated parole and could be stalking children, has arrested 219. In addition, the Fugitive Unit has arrested 30 unregistered sex offenders as part of Operation Missing Predator, a statewide initiative launched in April to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who are not registered with local law enforcement.