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August 7, 2020Sherman, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

North Texas man arrested for child pornography violations

SHERMAN, Texas – A man from Denison, Texas, was arrested Thursday for child pornography violations, following an investigation by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The Grayson (Texas) County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the case.

David Pettigrew, 48, was arrested Aug. 6 for transporting child pornography.

According to court documents, Pettigrew came to the attention of law enforcement officials through referrals sent by two electronic surveillance providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Those referrals identified a computer user who uploaded suspected child pornography onto their online platforms.

On Aug. 6, HSI special agents executed federal search warrants at Pettigrew’s residence and the Denison Church of the Nazarene, after which, agents arrested Pettigrew.

“The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas. "Investigating these predators, who victimize the most vulnerable among us, is one of HSI’s top priorities."

If convicted, Pettigrew faces a minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in federal prison.

Any members of the public with information about this case or possible victims are urged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 1-800-804-3547 or their local law enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa J. Miller and Jay Combs are prosecuting the case.

It is important to note that a complaint, arrest, or indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,500 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Updated: 08/13/2020