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Child Exploitation

North Texas man sentenced to 30 years in prison for possessing child pornography

DALLAS — A local man was sentenced to 360 months in prison for possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña, Northern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by the Dallas Police Department's (DPD) Internet Crimes against Children task force (ICAC), the Garland Police Department (GPD), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gary Lee Jackson, 26, of Garland, Texas, received the maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn. Judge Lynn called him a "dangerous person" following his guilty plea in December 2011. In addition, Jackson was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release following his incarceration.

According to court documents, the investigation began when an individual reported to DPD in August 2011 that she discovered several images of child pornography on a phone that Jackson had left in her car. Shortly thereafter, officers with the DPD ICAC interviewed Jackson at his home in Garland, Texas. Jackson told officers that he had lost his cell phone several days earlier and that it did have images of child pornography on it. He also admitted that he had photos of child pornography on his computer, which was confirmed by officers when it was searched. Jackson admitted that he has a problem of being attracted to children and that he had been viewing child pornography since he was age 15.

During Jackson's sentencing hearing, an officer with the GPD testified that Jackson admitted to him that he had sexually exploited children. The officer testified that when Jackson was a teenager, he convinced a 3 and a 6-year-old to remove their clothing for him. When he was 18, according to the officer, Jackson had sexual relations with a 13-year-old and bragged in a chat room that he had taken her virginity. The officer also testified that Jackson told him that in 2007 an individual named Amber Schmidt, who along with her husband lived with Jackson, "bought" him a 12-year-old female child for his birthday, which he sexually molested. The officer also testified that Jackson admitted that he molested a 5-year-old on three separate occasions in May 2011.

Schmidt was indicted in October 2011 on child pornography offenses and remains in custody. In January, she pleaded guilty to one count of transporting and shipping child pornography. She admitted that she used cell phones and text messaging to send images of child pornography to other individuals, including Jackson. Subpoenaed cell phone records contained chat logs of Schmidt chatting not only with Jackson, but also with others with whom she was trading child pornography. In these chats, she discussed her desire to receive images of young children engaged in sexual behavior. A sentencing date has not been set.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.