Melvin Wiand, 56, was sentenced July 14 by U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn to132 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in April to one count of receiving child pornography. In November 2007, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging Wiand with one count of receiving child pornography, two counts of possessing child pornography, and a forfeiture allegation. He was arrested shortly afterwards on those charges, and has been in custody since that time.
In documents filed in court, Wiand admitted that from Nov. 9 through Nov. 17, 2005, he knowingly received child pornography by downloading it from the Internet to his home computer. He admitted that he paid for subscriptions to child pornography websites, and saved images from those websites to his computer hard drive, CDs and other storage media. He also admitted that in November 2005, he subscribed to a website called "Illegal CP" and received numerous images of child pornography from that website.
Wiand further admitted that some of the images he saved depicted pre-pubescent minors engaged in sexual acts, and some portrayed sadistic and/or masochistic conduct. He admitted possessing more than 600 images of child pornography, which he downloaded from his email and from commercial child pornography websites by using Bearshare, a file-sharing software.
"The sexually exploited victims of child pornography are devastated from these experiences throughout their lives," said John Chakwin, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Dallas. "This 11-year prison sentence brings some justice to the innocent victims of these crimes." Chakwin oversees 128 counties in north Texas and the State of Oklahoma.
U.S. Attorney Roper commended ICE's investigative efforts. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa J. Miller and Aisha Saleem, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.
This case was brought to prosecution as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This investigation was also 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 11,000 individuals, including more than 1,080 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.