SAN ANTONIO - A former school janitor for Comal Independent School District was sentenced here Thursday to 10 years in prison for possessing and receiving child pornography. This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Barry Nielsen, 56, of San Antonio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court before Judge Orlando Garcia to 10 years in prison on the child pornography charges.
ICE executed a federal search warrant at Nielsen's home on the 1200 block of Adams Road in February 2006. ICE agents seized several hard drives, CDs, DVDs and zip disks. A computer forensic analysis conducted by ICE revealed more than 21,000 sexually explicit child pornography images and videos. ICE arrested Nielsen and turned him over to U.S. Marshals Service.
On March 27, 2007, Nielsen pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, and he was released on bond. Nielsen failed to appear at his Aug. 20 sentencing hearing, which made him a fugitive.
Judge Garcia issued a fugitive warrant against Nielsen for failing to appear to court. Almost two months later, Austin Police Department arrested Nielson and notified ICE. ICE agents immediately took him into custody.
"This case demonstrates the egregious nature of internet child pornography; ICE is committed to pursuing anyone who engages in sexually exploiting children," said Jerry Robinette, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in San Antonio. "This significant prison sentence is a powerful reminder that you can't hide in cyber space. ICE will find you, arrest you and bring you to justice. These crimes against children will not be tolerated."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Calvert, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,700 individuals, including more than 960 in Texas.
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.