GALVESTON, Texas – A South Texas man pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt accepted the plea at a hearing.
The investigation began when the Beaumont Police Department, using peer-2-peer software, discovered an IP address registered to Donald Wayne Waters, 44, of Winnie, Texas, sharing images and videos of child pornography. From there, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) Cyber-Crimes Division executed a search warrant at Waters' address. At that time, they discovered a large volume of child pornography on the computers in his home. A subsequent forensic analysis of the computer discovered 604 digital images and five videos that depicted children engaging in lewd exhibitions of their genitals, sexual intercourse and deviant sexual acts.
As part of the documents in support of the Nov. 21 plea, Waters admitted to searching for and downloading child pornography from the Internet and possessing hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. He also admitted that he had six to eight child pornography websites saved as "favorites" on his computer. He is set for sentencing on Feb. 21 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, at which time he faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250,000. After he completes any prison term imposed, Waters 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. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
ICE HSI investigated with the assistance of the Beaumont Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the 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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or 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.