CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A former local police officer pleaded Thursday to coercing and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by the Corpus Christi Police Department's Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (CCPD-ICAC) and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Robert McChester Jr., 27, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Hayden Head June 7. He admitted that between April 1, 2011 and April 2, 2012 he communicated with a child he knew to initially be 14 years old.
On April 4, the victim reported to medical professionals the inappropriate relationship she was having with a CCPD officer, alleging that he had met with her on several occasions and engaged in inappropriate activities. The allegations were immediately investigated and the officer was soon identified as McChester, a then active-duty patrol officer.
The investigation revealed McChester had been communicating with the victim via the Internet for about a year. Online communications between McChester and the victim were recovered and determined to contain content of an inappropriate sexual nature.
McChester was arrested after a criminal complaint was filed, but he was later released on bond. He was allowed to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing, which is set for Aug. 30. At that time, he faces a possible sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison. McChester resigned April 11, the day of his arrest.
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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.