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February 6, 2024Corpus Christi, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

Texas man convicted of distributing child sexual abuse material following investigation by HSI Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi Police

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Texas man has been convicted of distributing child pornography following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Jonathan Follis, a 46-year-old resident of Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The investigation began when authorities discovered Follis was participating in chat rooms involving discussions of child sexual abuse material. The evidence showed that he conducted most of these conversations using a cellphone that he kept in his office at work.

Law enforcement authorities searched that office and discovered the phone hidden under his keyboard, leading Follis to admit that he had used the phone to distribute child sexual abuse material.

A subsequent forensic analysis of Follis’ phone confirmed that he had been engaging in chat rooms discussing child sexual abuse material using the username “frickenwierdo.” The search also revealed that Follis participated in distributing child sexual abuse material in private chats and had distributed it as recently as April 5, 2023, approximately one month before law enforcement officials executed the search warrant at his office.

Follis is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1. At that time, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He will remain in custody pending that sentencing hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Overman and John Marck prosecuted the case.

For more news and information on HSI Houston’s efforts to aggressively investigate child exploitation and child sexual abuse material in Southeast Texas, follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSIHouston.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.