LAKE CHARLES, La. - Jake Rhodes, 22, of Lake Charles, La., was sentenced to five years in federal prison today for possession of child pornography, following an investigation conducted by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE's) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, La.
Rhodes was also sentenced to serve a term of supervised release for the rest of his life following his release from prison. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Rhodes, who was a security guard at a mall in Lake Charles, pleaded guilty in December 2009, to one count of possession of child pornography. Hard core videos of child pornography were found on a computer that the defendant had rented from a store in Lake Charles. After Rhodes returned the computer to the store, the owner discovered the videos had been saved on the computer and included children as young as six months old. During an interview with law enforcement, Rhodes confessed to downloading the child pornography from the Internet. Between the time that he confessed to downloading child pornography and the time of the defendant's arrest, he had purchased another computer and begun downloading more hardcore child pornography.
"Whether these heinous acts are committed through proliferation of Internet images, or by individuals who travel abroad to abuse children, HSI is fully committed to implementing every resource available to rid the scourge of international child exploitation," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in New Orleans. "Citizens can aid law enforcement by remaining vigilant and reporting suspicious activities involving the Internet or foreign travel. Together we can stop the senseless exploitation of children at the hands of those who prey upon the most vulnerable members of our society."
This case was part of Operation Predator, which is 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 Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,800 individuals.
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.