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Child Exploitation

Southeast Texas man sentenced to more than 6 years in prison for possessing child pornography

VICTORIA — A local man was sentenced to more than six years in prison for possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Attorney General's Office.

David Waldrop, 56, of Luling, Texas, was sentenced Monday to 76 months in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey, to be immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release.

"Child pornography is the permanent record of the sexual exploitation of a child and the victimization continues every time that image is transmitted, downloaded, shared or viewed", said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Victoria. "ICE agents take special pride in their role of seeking justice on behalf of those who have been exploited and victimized."

Waldrop came to the attention of law enforcement when co-workers at the Lavaca County Emergency Medical Service discovered a thumb drive inserted into a work computer showing child pornography on the screen. The thumb drive was later determined to belong to Waldrop. A second thumb drive was also discovered at the work station.

Forensic analysis of the thumb drives revealed dozens of images of child pornography, hundreds of images of child erotica and dozens of stories involving child rape and incest, some of which appear to have been written by Waldrop himself. In addition to child exploitation material, the forensic examination revealed numerous personal connections between Waldrop and the devices, which clearly identified him as the user and owner of the thumb drives.

Waldrop was later interviewed by law enforcement, at which time he admitted ownership of the devices and responsibility for the child pornography and other exploitation material found.

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 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

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. 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 and current chair 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.