Donald Wayne Waters, 44, formerly of Winnie, Texas, and a current resident of Houston, was indicted on June 22, for attempting to distribute, receive and possess child pornography. He was arrested on June 29 in Galveston.
On July 1, U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner ordered Waters released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond after a detention hearing. The government sought to detain him without bond. Several special conditions were added to include: home confinement, prohibited use of an electronic device which could access the Internet, and no contact with children. Waters pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is set for trial before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt in Houston on Aug. 29.
During Friday's hearing, testimony was presented to support Waters detention without bond and his allegedly having made child pornography available over the Internet to others through shared peer-to-peer folders on his computer. Testimony included the results of an Aug. 12, 2010 search warrant executed at his residence in Winnie. Waters possessed a computer which contained more than 600 digital images and about 50 minutes of videos of child pornography images. These images depicted children under 12 years old being sexually violated by adults and photographed in positions which caused their genitalia to be displayed in a lewd/lascivious manner, as well as images depicting children in bondage.
If convicted, Waters faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250,000 for attempting to distribute or receive child pornography. Possession child pornography carries a maximum punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Each offense also carries a maximum life term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. A conviction for any of the charges mandates registration as a sex offender.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting 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.
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.