Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Fugitive Unit Makes 1,000 Child Sex Offender Arrest

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Fugitive Unit this week arrested its 1,000th child sex offender as the Office of the Attorney General continues its aggressive crackdown on child predators.

On Tuesday, investigators with Attorney General Abbott’s Fugitive Unit arrested John Charles Dickerson, 46, who is the 1,000th sexual predator arrested since the Unit’s inception. In 2003, Attorney General Abbott created the Fugitive Unit to locate and arrest sex offenders who violate their parole.

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John Dickerson
John Dickerson

Video of John Dickerson's arrest

“Protecting Texas children is my top priority,” said Attorney General Abbott. “Thanks to the Fugitive Unit’s tireless efforts to investigate, locate and arrest missing sex offenders, 1,000 of these criminals have been taken out of our neighborhoods and put behind bars. The dedicated men and women who serve the Fugitive Unit have undoubtedly made Texas a safer place for all children.”

Dickerson was charged with violating his parole by reporting to work Tuesday without all of his monitoring equipment. In 1989, he was convicted of indecency with a child by exposure in Nueces County and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Following Tuesday’s arrest, Dickerson is being held in the Harris County Jail.

To date, the Attorney General’s Fugitive Unit has arrested child sex offenders in 94 Texas counties, 19 other states and three cities in Mexico. The arrests include sex offenders who failed to register with law enforcement officials, child sex offenders who violated parole restrictions, violent Louisiana fugitives who fled to Texas during Hurricane Katrina, Texas parolees who disappeared during Hurricanes Rita and Ike, and sex offenders and other violent offenders arrested during Operation Falcon II, a nationwide roundup of convicted felons-turned-fugitives.

In 2003, Attorney General Abbott also established the Cyber Crimes Unit to crackdown on child pornographers and sexual predators who use the Internet to prey upon children. The Cyber Crimes Unit has arrested 105 predators in 25 Texas counties and Indonesia. These defendants were caught trying to arrange sexual encounters online with victims they acknowledged were young children. The “children” actually were undercover investigators. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators have also obtained 94 individuals’ conviction on child pornography charges.

Since taking office, Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting child sexual predators. In addition to arrest roundups, Abbott also launched a series of town hall meetings statewide to educate parents and teenagers about the kind of criminal activity that goes on in connection with Internet diaries, chat rooms and social networking sites. Thousands of concerned Texans turned out at venues across the state to participate in the interactive presentation about the risks of online predators and the steps parents can take to protect their children online.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.