ABILENE, Texas — A West Texas man was sentenced Wednesday to serve a total of 50 years in federal prison following his guilty plea in August to two felony child pornography offenses.
This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Abilene Police Department (APD).
Specifically, Paul Joseph Koestle, 33, of Abilene, Texas, who has been in custody, pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography. Chief U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced Koestle to the statutory maximum sentence of 360 months on the production count and 240 months on the receipt count, which are to run consecutively.
According to documents filed in the case, earlier this year APD began investigating Koestle based on information it received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) indicating he had uploaded an image of child pornography to a Google account. APD executed a search warrant at Koestle’s home in late April 2015.
Koestle, who was home during the execution of the warrant, admitted downloading child pornography and producing child pornography of a minor child, “Jane Doe.” A forensic evaluation of electronic equipment seized from his residence during the search revealed hundreds of images of child pornography located on a cellphone, a laptop computer and hard drive. In addition, multiple images of “Jane Doe” engaging in sexually explicit conduct were found.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Myria Boehm, Northern District of Texas, was in charge of the prosecution.
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 14,000 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 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.