Monday, March 27, 2006

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Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit Arrests Three For Online Child Pornography; Two Indicted

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested three men last week involved with online child pornography, including a 21-year-old university student and a Panhandle man who recently served over three years in prison for bank robbery.

Arrested in the three operations were: Texas A&M University student Corey Ryan Armstrong, 21, of Florida; Christopher Dean Henson, 34, of Childress; and Thurman Sidney Hearn, 44, of Granite Shoals. All three face online child pornography charges.

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Corey Armstrong
Corey Armstrong
Video of arrest
Video of arrest
Thurman Hearn
Thurman Hearn
Video of arrest
Video of arrest
Christopher Henson
Christopher Henson

“The proliferation of child pornography is a problem that all Texans face,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Parents can be assured that the Texas law enforcement community is committed to stopping the exploitation of children by finding these offenders no matter where they are. I thank the Brazos County District Attorney’s office, the Childress County Sheriff’s office, and the Burnet County Sheriff’s office for helping to hold these three men accountable.”

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested Armstrong at his residence on the university’s College Station campus on Friday after a Brazos County grand jury indicted him on 17 counts of possession of child pornography.

In May 2005, unit officers conducted a search at Armstrong’s campus residence where they confiscated two computers and external media. Forensic analysis later turned up several images of child pornography. The case was referred to the Cyber Crimes Unit by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, after an internet service provider alerted the center that Armstrong was posting sexually explicit images of children on the Internet.

At the time of the investigation, Armstrong was majoring in meteorology at the university. The Brazos County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Attorney General Abbott’s investigators arrested Henson, who previously served time in federal prison for his involvement in a north Texas bank robbery, on Friday after a Childress grand jury indicted him on three counts of possession of child pornography and six counts of promotion.

Unit investigators conducted a search and confiscated Henson’s computer after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that he was sending e-mail containing images of children engaged in sexual conduct. Forensic analysis of his computer revealed child pornography.

Henson is being held in the Childress County Jail. Attorney General Abbott’s office is prosecuting the case.

In August 1998, Henson and another man were arrested for robbing the Community Bank of Hedley, northwest of Childress. Henson was convicted for the crime and sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In 2002, he was arrested for violating his supervised release and sentenced to an additional four months in federal prison.

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested Hearn in Kingsland on Thursday after a tip by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Hearn was uploading child pornography to an online photo album. He was charged with possession and promotion of child pornography and is being held in the Burnet County Jail.

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

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.