Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott Obtains Grand Jury Indictments Against Kerrville Veterinarian

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott praised a Kerr County grand jury for indicting a Kerrville veterinarian Monday on one count each of possession of child pornography and online solicitation of a minor. Jonathan Ward Brooke was arrested on July 25 when he drove to Buda with the intention of meeting a person he believed to be an underage girl for sexual contact. The “girl” was an undercover Cyber Crimes investigator whom Brooke had engaged in conversation in an online chat room.

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Jonathan Ward Brooke
Jonathan Ward Brooke

“We must remain vigilant in protecting our children from those who seek to do them harm,” Attorney General Abbott said. “My Cyber Crimes Unit is working tirelessly to make the Internet a safer environment for Texas children and to stop online predators before they strike.”

Brooke, 53, allegedly believed he was chatting with a 13-year-old girl online, ultimately convincing her to meet him at a fast food restaurant in the town of Buda south of Austin. When he arrived at the prearranged location, Cyber Crimes officers arrested him. Forensic analysis of his office computer in Kerrville revealed child pornography.

Possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Online solicitation of a minor is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In August 2005, a Hays County grand jury indicted Brooke on two counts of attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count each of attempted sexual performance by a child and criminal solicitation of a minor. Attempted sexual performance by a child is a third-degree felony in this case, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The other charges are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Brooke owns an animal clinic in Kerrville and is married with three children. He has been free on $175,000 bond.

Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, and the Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, have combined for over 400 arrests of such offenders since Abbott took office in December 2002. His office also has obtained convictions against 38 men on child pornography charges.

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.