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Child Exploitation

South Texas man sentenced to 20 years in prison for receiving child pornography

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A south Texas man was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for receiving child pornography via the Internet which depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson, Southern District of Texas; the investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with assistance from the Ingleside Police Department.

Terry Lee Bietendorf, 50, of Ingleside, Texas, was sentenced Nov. 19 by U.S. District Judge Hayden Head to 240 months imprisonment and also fined $5,000. A number of conditions were included in Bietendorf's sentence, including: a lifetime term of supervised release, a requirement to waive any rights to privacy with respect to his possession or use of any computer or other electronic storage media which either exists now or may exist in the future; any such item is subject to search, without a warrant, by the person supervising Bietendorf's release or any other law enforcement official; and the requirement to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

In determining a sentence, Judge Head considered the extremely large number of images and videos of child pornography received and possessed by Bietendorf as well as the content of those images. Judge Head found the images to be some of the most perverse that could exist. Judge Head imposed the maximum sentence allowed by statute after finding that Bietendorf represents a real and ongoing danger to the community.

The investigation by ICE agents was initiated in November 2007, revealing that Bietendorf subscribed to a known child pornography website. A forensic analysis completed by ICE agents on a computer seized during execution of a search warrant at Bietendorf's residence, discovered more than 5,000 images and 20 videos depicting numerous child victims, many of whom have been previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

During the investigation, ICE agents identified three female victims who were molested as young children and shown child pornography by Bietendorf. The victims, now adults, were interviewed and provided statements to ICE agents and Ingleside Police Department detectives.

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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.

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.

Following his sentencing, Bietendorf was ordered to remain in federal custody without bond.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.