Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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Vernon Man Investigated by Attorney General's Cyber Crimes Unit Sentenced to Four-year Prison Term

WICHITA FALLS – A Vernon man investigated and prosecuted by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit received a four-year prison sentence Monday on child pornography charges.

Jason Brian Anthony, 31, pleaded guilty to one count each of possession and promotion of child pornography. In addition to the prison term, 46th Judicial District Court Judge Dan Bird sentenced Anthony to seven years probation and required him to register as a sex offender for life. Assistant Attorney General Angela Goodwin handled the case.

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Jason Anthony

“Texans will not tolerate criminals who prey upon our children,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue to protect young Texans by aggressively cracking down on sex predators and child pornographers. We are grateful to Wilbarger County District Attorney Staley Heatly’s office for helping us bring this man to justice.”

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 sexually explicit images of children. In February, a Wilbarger County grand jury indicted him for child pornography possession and promotion. The Wilbarger County District Attorney’s office assisted the Cyber Crimes Unit with Anthony’s arrest.

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for arresting and prosecuting online child predators. In 2003, he launched the Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators by assuming the identities of young teenagers in Internet chat rooms, and the Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole. Attorney General Abbott’s initiative has resulted in more than 600 arrests of such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against more than 60 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 enables the Unit to increase cooperative efforts with law enforcement agencies across Texas and to expand the Unit’s online child exploitation crackdown.

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.