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September 17, 2015Corpus Christi, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

3 southeast Texas men charged with online solicitation of a minor

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Three local men were charged in separate but similar cases of soliciting a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The joint investigation is being conducted by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Corpus Christi Police Department – Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (CCPD-ICAC),

Taylor Alan Mills, 29, and Christopher Alan Rue, 39, both of Rockport, Texas, and James Robert Kirkland, 48, of Corpus Christi, were all charged separately by criminal complaint this week for online solicitation of a minor. Mills and Kirkland made their initial appearance Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington, at which time they were ordered into temporary custody pending further criminal proceedings. Rue made his initial appearance Thursday.

Each criminal complaint alleges the men were communicating with a person they believed was the mother of two minor female children – ages 14 and 11. In reality, the men were actually talking to an undercover officer. Each man expected to meet and engage in sexual contact with the minors, according to the charges. They were arrested as they arrived at the designated meeting place.

"These cases illustrate the lengths to which a child predator will go to take their inappropriate online relationship to what they hope will be physical contact," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI in Houston. "Despite the odds, HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to protect our kids and brings their abusers to justice."

"CCPD-ICAC is proud to have partnered with HSI, FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office on this most recent operation," said Captain Dave Cook. "We continually strive to protect our great community and maintain a safe environment for our children. We take Internet safety seriously and will continue to remain diligent in our pursuit of online predators."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this 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 12,000 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 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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.