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Child Exploitation

Houston attorney pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

HOUSTON - A local attorney pleaded guilty on Monday to possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

William George Gammon, 50, a Houston attorney, pleaded guilty May 23 before U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes. He entered his guilty plea admitting that on Nov. 20, 2009 he possessed child pornography he obtained via the Internet from a child pornography website. Judge Hughes has set sentencing for Aug. 22, at which time he faces a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. After he completes any prison term imposed, Gammon also faces a maximum of life on supervised release, during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.

In November 2009, ICE HSI executed a federal search warrant at Gammon's Houston residence. Gammon, was present at the time of the search. Gammon admitted to agents that he recognized the name of the child pornography website and this is when he purchased a membership to the website. Agents seized two of his laptops as well as his personal notes in a notepad pertaining to child pornography websites he had secured which he kept in a locked safe at his home. A forensic exam of Gammon's laptop computers resulted in the discovery of more than 600 images and videos of child pornography. In June 2010 Gammon was arrested after an indictment was returned against him. He remains on bond pending sentencing.

According to court documents, ICE HSI initiated its investigation after the ICE HSI Cybercrimes Center identified a commercial child pornography website in November 2008 which an undercover agent accessed and paid to join. Agents then obtained and executed a federal search warrant on the server and recovered log files which included e-mail addresses of subscribers. One of the user's e-mail addresses was linked to Gammon. In February 2009, agents executed a second federal search warrant on the server and recovered additional updated log files. Once again, one of the user's e-mail addresses was linked to Gammon.

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. 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.