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Child Exploitation

East Texas man pleads guilty to possessing child pornography

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

The joint investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Marshals Service, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, and the police departments of Lumberton and Beaumont, Texas.

Timothy Arthur Steinbarth, 49, of Lumberton, pleaded guilty Aug. 7 to possessing child pornography before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield. Steinbarth was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 16.

According to court documents, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Steinbarth's residence on Jan. 21, 2011. Several computers and digital storage mediums were seized during the search. A forensic analysis of the seized property revealed 100 videos and more than 100 images of child pornography. Some of the material could be considered sadistic or masochistic and depicted prepubescent children under the age of 12.

Steinbarth faces up to 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

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

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.