Timothy E. Whitington, 44, of Euless, Texas, on Monday appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton who ordered him detained pending further court proceedings.
According to the affidavit filed with the complaint and testimony presented at the Jan. 3 detention hearing, a federal search warrant was executed at Whitington's residence on Dec. 27 by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Whitington was home at the time. Agents advised Whitington that he was free to leave, but Whitington stated, with his head in his hands, "You are here for the bad stuff." Whitington directed agents to a USB thumb drive in a wooden box. He told agents the images were encrypted and provided agents with the encryption key allowing them to view the thumb drive contents.
During the forensic preview, agents found numerous images of child pornography depicting an 11-year-old victim.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If convicted of this offense, however, Whitington faces a statutory sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.
This case is being investigated by ICE HSI and the Euless Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex C. Lewis, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
This investigation is 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.