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Child Exploitation
05/08/2009

Convicted rapist pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

HOUSTON - A local man convicted of rape in 1982 pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing child pornography, announced acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson, Southern District of Texas. This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Thomas David Hogan, 47, a convicted sex offender, faces no less than 10 years in federal prison without parole and up to a lifetime of supervised release. Hogan pleaded guilty to the federal felony charge May 7, before U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison. He has been held without bond since his arrest in June 2008, and remains in custody pending sentencing.

ICE initiated this investigation in October 2005 when an undercover ICE agent in New Jersey purchased a membership on an illegal child pornography Web site. Upon entering the site, he discovered thousands of images of child pornography.

ICE agents determined the credit card charges to the child pornography Web site were processed through a company in Carrollton, Texas. In September 2006, a search warrant was executed at that business by ICE agents from New Jersey and Texas. Results of the search warrant identified additional purchases to the child pornography Web site and obtained identification information. Among the collected data was information entered by an individual identified as Thomas Hogan with a Houston mailing address who made purchases in March and April 2006.

ICE agents in Houston obtained and executed a federal search warrant at Hogan's residence in November 2007, and seized three computers and 34 CDs. A computer forensic analysis uncovered more than 300 child pornography videos and 3,300 photos on two computers. Many of the images showed pre-pubescent children under 12 years old engaged in explicit sex scenes; two videos involved bondage. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children analyzed the images and found known victims depicted.

Because of Hogan's 1982 rape conviction in Montgomery County, Texas, he faces no less than 10 years in federal prison. After he completes his prison term, he also faces up to a lifetime term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit his use of the Internet. His sentencing is scheduled for July 29.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals, including more than 1,090 in Texas.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.