FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno man made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon to face charges he engaged in sexually explicit chats online with a 13-year-old boy and used the Internet to entice the boy into meeting him for sexual encounters.
David Hume, 36, was arrested Tuesday by investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office on charges detailed in a criminal complaint. In addition to online enticement of a minor, Hume is also charged with distribution of child pornography. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.
The charges stem from a probe by the Central California Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, including HSI, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and the Tulare Police Department. The probe allegedly revealed Hume engaged in sexually explicit online chats with the victim. The chats led to Hume's meeting with the boy on two separate occasions last month where he sexually abused the child. According to the criminal complaint, the investigation also revealed Hume possessed numerous images and videos of child pornography, which he distributed over a peer-to-peer file sharing network.
"Those who sexually exploit children online falsely believe the Internet affords them anonymity and that their crimes will go undetected," said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. "As this case makes clear, not only does cyberspace not shield them from detection, the technology has given law enforcement new ways to investigate these cases."
A forensic analysis of computers seized from Hume's home allegedly revealed the defendant had numerous online chats involving the sexual abuse of minors as well as online conversations with the 13-year-old victim. On Feb. 12, the victim informed investigators he had been sexually abused twice by Hume. That night, investigators took Hume into custody.
Investigators are concerned there may be other unidentified victims in this case. They are asking for anyone who may have information related to the defendant or the case to contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 559-600-8144. The public may also report suspicious activity by calling ICE's toll-free hotline 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by using the agency's online tip form.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.