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Child Exploitation

Federal jury convicts Kerrville doctor of possessing child pornography

SAN ANTONIO - A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a Kerrville, Texas, physician on one count of receiving and three counts of possessing child pornography. The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, Western District of Texas; the case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

It took the jury less than two hours to convict Dr. David Winkler, a doctor of internal medicine in the Kerrville area.

ICE executed a federal search warrant at Winkler's home and office where agents seized two computers on April 19, 2007. The same day, agents seized a third computer from his office. ICE agents conducted a forensic examination of all three computer hard drives and discovered 44 videos and about 600 images of child pornography.

"This prominent Kerrville doctor betrayed his patients and his community by purchasing child pornography," stated U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. "Men like Dr. Winkler, who spend money to buy these evil images, create a demand which results in more children being sexually abused and having their lives destroyed."

"ICE aggressively targets anyone who preys on innocent child victims, especially those who hold positions of public trust as in this case," said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in San Antonio. "Together with the U.S. Attorney's Office, we give these abused children a voice, and ensure that justice is served."

Winkler was taken into federal custody after the jury's verdict. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the receipt charge, and up to 10 years in federal prison for each possession charge. Winkler is also subject to a maximum $250,000 fine per count.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 24 before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy Braun and Tom Moore, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit: http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This investigation was also 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. Since the initiative was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals, including 1,160 in Texas.

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 also be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.