FORT WORTH, Texas – A Boy Scout den leader from Arlington, Texas, was arrested Thursday on a federal child pornography charge outlined in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Timothy J. Weirich, 41, remains in federal custody.
According to the complaint, an undercover operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Beaumont, Texas, with assistance from the Houston, Texas, Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, identified an IP address linked to a computer at an Arlington, Texas, address that had used file-sharing software to download images and videos of child pornography.
Last week, ICE HSI agents visited that location and interviewed a witness at the residence who allowed agents to examine computers. A preliminary forensic examination conducted on one computer revealed the presence of child pornography.
After discovering the child pornography, agents located Weirich at his place of employment. He stated that he was the only person responsible for the child pornography found by agents and that his interest in child pornography started out as a curiosity and then progressed into a compulsion he could not control. He also informed agents that he is currently a den leader for the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a karate instructor at his children's karate class. While the investigation is ongoing, at this time ICE HSI notes that it is unaware of any child molestation.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If convicted of this offense, however, Weirich faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alex C. Lewis and Chris R. Wolfe, Northern 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 and its online tip form. Both are 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.