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Child Exploitation

Southeast Texas man sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing child pornography

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Victoria, Texas, man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Joseph Fellhauer, 64, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to 120 months in prison, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, and must also register as a sex offender. In handing down this sentence, Judge Ramos stated that the sentence was sufficient but not greater than necessary to deter future criminal conduct and protect the public. Fellhauer pleaded guilty to the charges Oct. 29.

Fellhauer came to the attention of law enforcement when an HSI undercover special agent downloaded several items of child pornography from a computer that was linked to Fellhauer in October 2010 and April 2011. HSI contacted the Corpus Christi Police Department's (CCPD) Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC) and enlisted its assistance to investigate the unlawful activity.

On Oct. 6, 2010, an HSI special agent downloaded several images of child pornography from an individual later identified as Fellhauer. A federal search warrant was executed by HSI special agents and CCPD officers on Fellhauer's residence in Victoria April 12, 2011, at which time several electronic media storage devices were seized. Fellhauer, who lived alone and away from children, was not arrested at the time.

"Anyone who distributes child pornography continues the cycle of exploiting those children," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "As a result of the great work by HSI, CCPD and ICAC partners, Mr. Fellhauer won't have the opportunity to exploit anyone for the next decade."

A subsequent forensic review of Fellhauer's media devices by CCPD computer forensics experts revealed more than 12,000 images and 350 videos of child pornography. Fellhauer was arrested pursuant to a federal criminal indictment in January 2012. At the time of his arrest, Fellhauer was actively downloading child pornography. He admitted to acquiring child pornography from the Internet and to having an interest in child pornography for more than 15 years.

Fellhauer has been in custody since his January 2012 arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.