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Child Exploitation

South Texas man sentenced to 24 years in prison for sexually assaulting children

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A south Texas man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 24 years and five months in federal prison for traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor. This sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Houston Metro Police Department, and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

John Paul Gamage, 22, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 293 months in federal prison without parole. He was also sentenced to spend the rest of his life on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

Gamage pleaded guilty June 21 to traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor. He admitted that he traveled from Houston to Stone County, Mo., to have illicit sexual contact with an 11-year-old victim. He further admitted that during his stay in Missouri he also sexually assaulted a 9-year-old victim.

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.