Monday, April 10, 2006

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Cyber Crimes Unit’S Largest Child Pornography Investigation Results In 10 Year Prison Term For Lubbock Man

LUBBOCK – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigation of a Lubbock man who had 13,664 sexually explicit images and video of children stored on his home computer has resulted in a 10-year federal prison sentence for Cole Cosby, 23, in the largest child pornography case ever investigated by the Unit.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with prosecutors from Attorney General Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit, obtained the maximum punishment permitted under federal sentencing guidelines Friday in the U.S. District Court in Lubbock after the former Texas Tech University student pled guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.

“Stockpiling child pornography is a child sex crime that will not be tolerated in Texas,” said Attorney General Abbott. “The case against Cole Cosby is one of the most disturbing cases ever investigated by my Cyber Crimes Unit. We will continue our vigorous pursuit of these offenders, and I am deeply grateful to the state and federal authorities who worked to bring this man to justice. I am pleased that he will spend a long time behind bars for his despicable actions.”

Cyber Crimes investigators conducted a search of Cosby’s Lubbock residence after receiving the case from the Dallas Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. Forensic analysis of Cosby’s computers and external media revealed over 13,000 images and video of children engaged in sexual conduct, some as young as toddler age. Cosby was brought to the attention of law enforcement by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which received a complaint that Cosby was posting child pornography online.

Upon completion of his prison term, Cosby must register as a sex offender and serve 20 years of supervised release, during which time he will be banned from using the Internet and prohibited from being anyplace where children under 18 may congregate. Cosby will also be forbidden from dating anyone with children under 18 without approval of federal probation officials.

At the time of the investigation, Cosby was enrolled at Texas Tech University and majoring in psychology. He is out on bond and must turn himself in on May 5 to begin serving the federal prison sentence.

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

Attorney General Abbott has made pursuing sexual predators a top priority in his administration. The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, has made 76 arrests since Abbott took office in December 2002. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested more than 270 such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against 39 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.