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Child Exploitation
11/18/2011

Fort Worth man admits downloading child pornography from the Internet

FORT WORTH, Texas – A Fort Worth man pleaded guilty on Friday before U.S. District Judge John McBryde to two counts of receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. The Fort Worth Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are investigating.

Michael S. Starowicz, 39, faces a statutory maximum statutory sentence of not less than five years or more than 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine per count. Starowicz, who remains in custody, could also be sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for March 2 before Judge McBryde.

According to documents filed in the case, in September 2010, Fort Worth Police officers responded to a "peeping tom" call at a residence in Fort Worth. The victims reported that their 10-year-old daughter reported seeing a video camera on the bathroom windowsill of their home as she was exiting the shower. Officers were once again dispatched to the home a few months later, and they detained Starowicz, who had been seen filming from outside the victim's home.

Starowicz admitted to secretly taking photos and videos of individuals as they showered. The defendant also admitted that there would be child pornography on his home computer. An examination of all Starowicz's computers and related storage media items was performed and officers discovered child pornography. Starowicz admitted that he had obtained the child pornography via the Internet.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex C. Lewis, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.

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.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE and 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.