Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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Fugitive Unit Arrests Austin Sex Offender for Illegally Using Social Networking Sites

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Fugitive Unit arrested previously convicted sex offender Ernest Welton Bellotte, 52, of Austin, for using the Internet in violation of his parole terms. Fugitive Unit investigators discovered that Bellotte had established online profiles on numerous social networking sites, including MySpace.com, Twitter and Facebook.

“Friday’s arrest is another stark reminder for parents whose children have profiles on social networking sites,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Until true age verification technology is implemented, convicted sex offenders will continue illegally using MySpace.com and other networking sites to establish an online presence. All Texans must remain vigilant about the dangers posed by online sexual predators.”

MySpace Arrest

Ernest Bellotte

Video of Ernest Bellotte's arrest

In 1995, Bellotte was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for attempt to commit sexual assault; sentenced to 10 years for attempt to commit indecency with a child by sexual contact; and sentenced to 17 years for indecency with a child by sexual contact. All three convictions were rendered in Travis County.

Since taking office, Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting online child predators. In 2003, he created the Cyber Crimes Unit, which protects children from online sexual exploitation. The Cyber Crimes Unit and the Fugitive Unit, which locates sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, have combined to arrest more than 1,000 sex offenders. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators also have traveled to schools and communities statewide to offer educational cyber safety programs.

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