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Child Exploitation
12/17/2012

East Texas man sentenced to more than 11 years following conviction on child pornography charges

GALVESTON, Texas — An east Texas man was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison following his convictions for receiving and possessing child pornography, and accessing a website with intent to view child pornography.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Phillip Edward Baker, 50, was sentenced to 135 and 120 months for the receipt and possession convictions, respectively. In addition, following a one-day bench trial Sept. 20, U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa sentenced Baker to 120 months in prison for accessing a child pornography website. These sentences will run concurrently for a total sentence of 135 months. Baker will also serve the rest of his life on supervised release after he completes his prison term; he must also register as a sex offender.

This investigation began when a German police officer conducted a search for child pornography on the Internet. His search revealed an IP address identified as belonging to Baker in Angleton, Texas. This information was forwarded to HSI special agents in Galveston, Texas.

"The global nature of the Internet has made child pornography accessible to virtually anyone, anywhere and at any time with just the click of a mouse," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "A global problem requires a global effort, and this case highlights the critical role that our international law enforcement partners play in helping HSI special agents keep kids safe from predators here at home."

According to evidence and testimony at trial, special agents executed a search warrant Feb. 23, 2010. During the search, special agents seized two computers, nine CDs, magazines and photo printouts. The next day, Baker was interviewed and admitted that he viewed and received child pornography online. He also told HSI special agents that he started looking at child pornography six to seven years ago.

A forensic analysis of the seized evidence collected during the search revealed that Baker had a peer-to-peer file-sharing account that he used to search for and download child pornography images and videos. Baker's computers and CDs had 6,590 images that contained child pornography. The images revealed instances of pre-pubescent minors, adults present with minors, sadism, masochism or bondage, penetration of pre-pubescent minors, and lascivious displays of minors' genitalia. The analysis also revealed a substantial video collection of 31 videos amounting to seven hours and 34 minutes of video.

Baker has been on bond since the return of the guilty verdict where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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-DHS-2ICE 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-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Stabe and Sherri Zack, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.