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Child Exploitation

Frisco, Texas, man sentenced for child pornography violations

PLANO, Texas - A 30-year-old man from Frisco, Texas, was sentenced on Friday to 13 years in federal prison for child pornography violations. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Mark Alan Lasater pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to a four-count indictment charging him with receiving and transporting child pornography. He was sentenced to 156 months in federal prison on Aug. 27 by U.S. District Judge Richard Schell.

According to information presented in court, Lasater was being investigated for purchasing access to a website which allowed users to view and access images of child pornography. In July 2009, law enforcement agents executed a federal search warrant at Lasater's Frisco residence and seized a personal computer. While federal agents were executing the search warrant, they discovered that Lasater was actively running a computer program that allowed numerous users to download child pornography videos from Lasater's computer. The computer was analyzed and found to have 27 images and 85 videos of child pornography. Some of the images depicted children less than 12 years old engaged in sexually explicit conduct; other videos depicted children engaged in sadistic and masochistic conduct.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Griffith, Eastern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 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.

This case was also brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.