Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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Cyber Crimes Unit Arrests Vernon Man Following Indictment On Child Pornography Charges

WICHITA FALLS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit today arrested 30-year-old Jason Brian Anthony, of Vernon, after a Wilbarger County grand jury indicted him on child pornography charges. Assistant Attorney General Angela Goodwin presented the case to the grand jury Thursday after the Cyber Crimes Unit discovered more than 600 sexually explicit images and video of children on Anthony’s computer equipment.

“Texans will not tolerate criminals who exploit our children,” said Attorney General Abbott. “The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue its aggressive crackdown of insidious predators who possess and promote child pornography. We are grateful to Wilbarger County District Attorney Staley Heatly’s office and the New York State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for helping us bring this man to justice.”
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Jason Anthony

The case against Anthony began with a cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which referred the tip to the New York State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. New York authorities then referred the case to the Office of the Attorney General after discovering the computer account was located in Vernon, Texas.

A forensic examination of Anthony’s computer and external media conducted by the Cyber Crimes Unit revealed files containing child pornography. On Feb. 8, he was indicted on 13 counts of possession and one count of promotion of child pornography. The Wilbarger County District Attorney’s office assisted the Cyber Crimes Unit with Anthony’s arrest.

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

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for arresting and prosecuting online child predators. Shortly after taking office, he created the Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators by assuming the identities of young teenagers in Internet chat rooms. Investigators have arrested 92 men who used teen chat rooms to arrange meetings with underage victims. In addition, Cyber Crimes Unit prosecutors have obtained convictions against 56 men on child pornography charges.

In May 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Cyber Crimes Unit a $300,000 grant that funded an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The grant enabled the Unit to increase cooperative efforts with law enforcement agencies across Texas and to expand the Unit’s online child exploitation crackdown.

Attorney General Abbott’s Fugitive Unit, established in 2003, further protects children by locating and arresting parole-violating sex offenders. The Fugitive Unit has arrested more than 450 parolees, unregistered sex offenders and other convicted criminals. Together, the Cyber Crimes and Fugitive units have yielded more than 500 sexual predator arrests.

For more information, contact the Texas Attorney General's office at (800) 252-8011 or visit the Attorney General's Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.