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Child Exploitation

Jury finds Plano, Texas, man guilty of child pornography violations

PLANO, Texas – A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a 34-year-old local man of child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

Travis Hunter Blank was found guilty on June 22 of transporting and possessing child pornography following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Richard Schell.

According to information presented in court, Blank used his America Online account to send a video clip depicting a nude minor male engaged in sexually explicit conduct with an adult male. At trial, prosecutors presented testimony from an America Online representative discussing steps America Online and other internet service providers have taken to assist law enforcement in identifying individuals who use the internet to commit child exploitation offenses. The jury also heard from the investigators in the case, as well as a computer forensic expert who described how he recovered the images of child pornography that were found on Blank's personal computer.

Blank faces up to 20 years in prison for the transportation charge, and up to 10 years in federal prison for the possession charge. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case was investigated by the following law enforcement agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Plano Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and Collin County Sheriff's Office.

U.S. Attorneys Mandy Griffith and Glenn Roque-Jackson, Eastern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.

This investigation was 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.

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.