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Child Exploitation

East Texas man sentenced to 5 years in prison for possessing child pornography

BEAUMONT, Texas — An east Texas man was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison for possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation's (HSI), and the Beaumont Police Department.

Tracy Jay Chappell, 40, from Jasper, Texas, pleaded guilty July 11 before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone to possessing child pornography. Chappell was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison Oct. 28.

According to court information, on Apr. 4, 2011, Chappell was identified through his Internet Protocol address during an undercover operation targeting child pornography distribution. Chappell's IP address had files available for any computer user connected to the Internet to access using publicly available file-sharing software. A federal search warrant was later executed at Chappell's residence in Jasper. During the search, a personal computer was seized that contained about 1,200 images of children engaged in sexually explicit behavior. A federal grand jury indicted Chappell on charges of possessing child pornography Feb. 6.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke, Eastern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2823 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.