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Child Exploitation

East Texas man pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

BEAUMONT, Texas – A local man pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales Eastern District of Texas.

This investigation was conducted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Beaumont Police Department (BPD).

Michael Brandan Griffith, 24, entered his guilty plea guilty to possessing child pornography before U.S. District Judge Keith F. Giblin April 9.

According to court records, on Jan. 20, 2012, HSI special agents and BPD officers executed a search warrant at Griffith's residence in Beaumont, Texas. Several computers and digital storage devices were seized during the search, revealing 111 images and 59 videos of child pornography. Some of the material included prepubescent children under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual exploitation," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "HSI will relentlessly pursue those who abuse our kids, regardless of whether that abuse is physical in nature or if it's accomplished through the sexual exploitation of their captured images."

Griffith faces up to 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

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 1-866-347-2423 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice, Eastern District of Texas is prosecuting the case.