Friday, January 30, 2004
Attorney General Abbott Wins Conviction In Austin Child Predator TrialAUSTIN - Following a four-day federal trial in Austin, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes prosecutors won a guilty verdict Thursday against a child predator and former computer engineer for Motorola who attempted to arrange a sexual encounter with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Srinath Audityan, 30, of Austin, was convicted on charges of coercion and child enticement, offenses that can result in up to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The jury deliberated about three hours before delivering the verdict. A sentencing date for Audityan has not been set.
“I have the utmost confidence in the Texans serving on juries,” Abbott said. “Our investigators and prosecutors meticulously gathered more than enough incriminating evidence to convict this defendant for attempting to prey on a child.”
Cyber Crimes investigators arrested Audityan on June 13 when he drove to the San Marcos area to have a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl, who in reality was one of Abbott’s undercover officers. Audityan had sexually explicit conversations with the officer over a four-day period in an Internet chat room, ultimately leading to a prearranged meeting place to engage in sexual activity.
Audityan was the second child predator arrested after Abbott retooled the crime-fighting Cyber Crimes Unit last May tripling the resources and personnel in an effort to protect the children of Texas.
Earlier this month, Cyber Crimes prosecutors also won a conviction against a child predator who is a repeat offender. Mauro Palacio, 37, a former Fort Hood soldier from Killeen, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000 for attempting to meet a child in Montague County.
To date, 29 men have been arrested and jailed by the Cyber Crimes Unit on similar charges, and most have been indicted and await trial. The latest arrest occurred on January 23 when a Lampasas man, Rogelio Castaneda, 47, drove to the Buda area in Hays County to meet what he thought would be a 13-year-old “girl” for sex. Castaneda was charged with attempted sexual performance by a child and bond was set at $250,000.