CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local man was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) - Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.
Christopher Lee, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez-Ramos. Lee will also serve 10 years of supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the Internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. Lee pleaded guilty March 3.
"Child pornography is the permanent record of the sexual exploitation of a child and the victimization continues every time that image is transmitted, downloaded, shared or viewed," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "HSI agents take special pride in their role of seeking justice on behalf of those who have been exploited and victimized."
On March 28, 2013, CCPD responded to a domestic disturbance call at a motel in Corpus Christi. The victim claimed her boyfriend, Lee, had assaulted her. She further alleged that Lee had been viewing child pornography on his cellphone earlier that day. She described images of nude girls between the ages of seven and nine, as well as a video of an adult male sexually assaulting a six-month old female infant.
Lee later contacted the police in an effort to obtain reports related to the assault, and on Aug. 7, 2013, he came to the police station to pick up the assault reports. At that time he provided consent for officers to search his cellphone, which resulted in the discovery of child pornography. A forensic examination identified numerous images of child pornography and child erotica.
Lee later admitted to downloading, viewing and saving the child pornography on his phone.
Lee will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Miller, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.