NEW ORLEANS - James A. Walker, Jr., 69, of Covington, La., was arrested on May 21 after being indicted by a federal grand jury in New Orleans for knowingly receiving and possessing digital images, computer images, and digital video files depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
According to the indictment, Walker used his computer to electronically acquire and store images of child pornography from locations all around the world. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years, followed by up to a life term of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and can be required to register as a sex offender.
"This investigation is a clear indication of ICE's resolve to search out those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "Some predators mistakenly believe that the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from scrutiny; in fact, their use of computers and the Internet have given us new tools to use in our enforcement efforts."
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.
This case was also brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba.