DALLAS - A married couple formerly from Ennis, Texas, were arrested on Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents on federal criminal complaints charging felony child pornography offenses. The arrests were announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.
Law enforcement located Buddy Anderson, 39, and his wife, Sharon Lee Anderson, 38, early this month at a homeless shelter in Las Vegas where they had absconded to after leaving their apartment in Ennis in February. They were arrested on related state charges and returned to Ennis. The Andersons appeared this afternoon in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan who ordered them detained pending further court proceedings.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints, persons hired to clean an abandoned apartment on North Clay Street in Ennis discovered child pornography photographs on the apartment's porch that were discarded as garbage. Some of those photographs depicted a female child, about 5-years-old and later identified as Sharon Anderson's daughter, posing in a sexually explicit manner.
Buddy Anderson is charged with knowingly using a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Sharon Anderson is charged with knowingly permitting her minor daughter to engage in this sexually explicit conduct.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. However, upon conviction, each of these offenses carries a statutory sentence of not less than 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The government has 30 days to present the matter, which remains under investigation, to a federal grand jury for indictment.
ICE HSI and the Ennis Police Department are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Camille Sparks and Lisa J. Miller, Northern District of Texas, are in charge of the prosecution.
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. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.