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Child Exploitation

Florida man sentenced to nearly 13 years for possessing child pornography

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida man was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison for downloading and possessing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

Robert A. Howard Jr., 41, of Merritt Island, Fla., was also sentenced to 15 years of supervised release, after he's released from prison.

Howard was found guilty after a Feb. 24 jury trial.

ICE HSI, working with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, was notified about allegations regarding Howard possessing child pornography in September 2005. Further investigation led to a search of Howard's home computer where child pornography was found. Howard admitted to downloading child pornography. Court records show that Howard had sexually abused one of his adopted daughters.

This case was investigated by the Crimes Against Children Task Force of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and ICE HSI office in Cocoa Beach.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Davis Wilson, Middle District of Florida, prosecuted this case.

The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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.