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Child Exploitation

North Texas man sentenced to 3 years for possessing child pornography

WICHITA FALLS, Texas - A man from north Texas was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O'Connor to 36 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

William L. Ferguson, 38, of Burkburnett, Texas, pleaded guilty in November 2010 to one count of possessing child pornography. Judge O'Connor also ordered that Ferguson, who was taken into custody following the sentencing hearing, register as a sex offender and serve a lifetime of supervised release.

According to documents filed in the case, on Dec. 23, 2009, special agents with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) visited the Ferguson residence based on a lead from the ICE Cyber Crimes Center. The lead concerned a target at the Ferguson residence who was accessing and possessing child pornography via the Internet using peer-to-peer software. ICE HSI agents examined Ferguson's computer and related storage media and discovered child pornography.

Ferguson, a member of the U.S. Air Force, admitted that he used the Internet to acquire child pornography and that he viewed and saved images of girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct to his computer.

The case was investigated by ICE HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex C. Lewis, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted 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.