This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Ballinger Police Department, and the Runnels County Sheriff’s Office.
James Arthur Abney, 53, of San Angelo, Texas, who remains in custody, faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after that report is completed.
This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, while resided in Ballinger, Texas, Abney used cell phones to search the Internet for child pornography images. He saved images of child pornography on his cellphones and downloaded some images into his computer’s hard drive.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
The 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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.