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Child Exploitation

Louisiana man sentenced to 17 ½ years in federal prison following ICE child pornography investigation

LAFAYETTE, La. - Phillip M. Ward, 67, of Lake Charles, La., was sentenced to 17 ½ years in federal prison on June 25 for receiving child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and the Louisiana State Police.

Ward was also sentenced to serve a lifetime of supervised release at the conclusion of his prison sentence. In addition, Ward was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

Ward admitted to obtaining child pornography using the computer located at his residence in Lake Charles.

ICE Special Agent in Charge in New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., stated, "All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of sexual exploitation. Our agents will continue to police cyberspace and target those who travel abroad to exploit one of the most vulnerable segments of our society - our children."

"This conviction underlines the fact that there will be no refuge for child sexual predators who believe that they can pursue their perverse behavior with impunity online. Our office will continue to devote its efforts to prosecuting those who commit such exploitative crimes," said U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley.

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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Luke Walker.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.