FRESNO, Calif. — Two Fresno-area men have received significant prison terms after pleading guilty to child pornography charges stemming from investigations conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the other agencies on the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Imad Ibrahim Abousalem, 54, of Fresno, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for possession of child pornography. Abousalem, who pleaded guilty July 23, has been in custody since his initial arrest in April. According to court documents, investigators found 54 sexually explicit images of prepubescent children obtained from a website on Abousalem's cell phone. The images involved the portrayal of sadistic, masochistic and other depictions of violence. Abousalem's sentence was enhanced because of a 2002 child sex offense.
The second defendant, Stanley Neil Martin, 53, of Clovis, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for receiving child pornography. Martin pleaded guilty July 9. He was taken into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. According to court documents, Martin downloaded 280 separate videos and an additional 478 still images from the Internet onto his computer depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The images and videos also involved the portrayal of sadistic, masochistic and other depictions of violence, and many of the minors depicted were prepubescent.
"The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime and, as these sentences make clear, there will be serious consequences for those convicted of such offenses," said Mike Prado, acting resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. "Homeland Security Investigations will continue working with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who victimize the most vulnerable members of our society, our children."
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation assisted with the prosecution of Abousalem. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian W. Enos prosecuted the cases.
The cases are a result of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Under Operation Predator, HSI is seeking 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
Meanwhile under PSC, the Department of Justice is marshaling federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the "resources" tab for information about Internet safety education.