FORT SMITH, Ark. — An Arkansas man was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison Tuesday for production of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Arkansas State Police and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.
Roger Bates, 57, of London, Ark., pleaded guilty to federal charges of production of child pornography Aug. 13. In addition to the 60-year prison term issued Tuesday, he was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution. Bates is not eligible for parole.
According to court documents, Bates created pornographic images of a 7-year-old girl and at least two other minors. In May 2011, Bikers Against Child Abuse reported to law enforcement that Bates was taking sexual photos of minors. During a subsequent investigation, law enforcement uncovered multiple child pornography images when they executed a search warrant at Bates' residence.
"Violating an innocent child is one of the most horrific crimes imaginable. While no punishment can undo the harm suffered by these victims, investigating and prosecuting sexual predators to the fullest extent of the law is one of our highest priorities," said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. HSI New Orleans oversees a five-state region including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
This 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-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 and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.