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Child Exploitation

Federal jury convicts 76-year-old west Texas man on child pornography offenses

ABILENE, Texas - A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a 76-year-old west Texas man on all seven counts related to possessing child pornography. The announcement was made March 16 by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Specifically, following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, the jury found Harvey James Pelland, of Big Spring, Texas, guilty on two counts of possessing child pornography and five counts of receiving a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Sentencing has been set for June 6 in Abilene. Each count of possessing child pornography carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and each count of receiving a depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct carries a statutory sentence of not less than five years, nor more than 20 years imprisonment. Each of the seven counts requires a lifetime of supervised release. Pelland has been in custody since his arrest on April 6, 2009, on a state charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Pelland entered a guilty plea to the state charge on July 19, 2009.

The government presented evidence at trial that in late March and early April 2009, while Pelland was living in Big Spring, he possessed images of child pornography and received images of child pornography from the Internet.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Big Spring Police Department, and the Howard County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, are in charge of the prosecution.

This investigation is 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.