Thursday, March 18, 2004

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Attorney General Abbott's Cyber Crimes Prosecutors Obtain Four-Year Sentence Against Child Predator

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Hays County District Attorney Mike Wenk announced the guilty plea and sentencing today of Michael A. McDaniel, 43, of Pflugerville, a child predator who attempted to meet a 13-year-old “girl” for sex last August.


(Michael McDaniel)

Attorney General Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigators, who impersonated the teenager in an Internet chat room, arrested McDaniel.

Hays County District Judge Jack Robinson sentenced McDaniel to four years in prison and a $2,500 fine on the charge of attempted sexual performance by a child, a third-degree felony. McDaniel will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

“As more of these cases move through Texas courts, we’re confident Texas juries will hear the overwhelming evidence and return convictions, or the defendants will avoid the risk of defending themselves in front of peers by pleading guilty,” said Abbott. “Either way, justice will be served.”

One of Abbott’s undercover officers began this investigation last July, assuming the identity of the child and chatting online at length with McDaniel. He eventually solicited the child for sex. McDaniel then drove from his home in Pflugerville to meet the investigator posing as a child at a predetermined location in the San Marcos area.

Cyber Crimes officers were assisted by the San Marcos Police Department in the arrest. The Pflugerville Police Department assisted in the execution of a search warrant at McDaniel’s residence, where officers seized a computer and related equipment used as evidence in prosecuting the case.

Assistant Attorney General John Saba prosecuted the case against McDaniel.

Since last May, Cyber Crimes officers have arrested 35 men in various Central Texas counties for attempting to meet children for sex via the Internet. Most of these alleged predators have been indicted and await trial.