60 Arrests Made Following Online Child Sex Crime InvestigationPublished: Jul 13, 2018 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
A child sex crime investigation in Houston has led to dozens of arrests. A former teacher and several former police officers were among those taken into custody. The investigation specifically targeted internet crimes against children.
Being part of any legal situation is intimidating. Texas law casts a wide net in forbidding sexual contact with children. Regardless of the specific charges you’re facing, an experienced Houston child sex abuse lawyer can answer any questions you may have. If your investigation is related to child sex abuse, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away. We have extensive knowledge of the law, and we will protect your rights through every step of the criminal justice process.
Possession of Child Pornography Leads to Arrests
The Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force has the responsibility of policing the online distribution of child pornography. The ICAC partnered with the Children’s Assessment Center in 2008 to combat the increase in crimes related to child porn. This opposition took the form of Operation Broken Heart, an initiative that included 255 investigations that took place over a 90-day period and to 60 arrests. Law enforcement officials from 65 different agencies across the Houston area worked together, filing arrest warrants at both the state and federal level. Using the warrants, investigators discovered thousands of gigabytes of graphic sexual images.
The city is making an effort to crack down on inappropriate online behavior. Investigators have encouraged parents to be more aware of what their children are doing online, and police have made it their mission to remain up-to-date on technological advances. This is the fifth year that Operation Broken Hearts has orchestrated a similar partnership.
Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography
If you are arrested for a child pornography offense as outlined in Texas Penal Code Section 43.26, you face felony-level penalties, the specifics for which vary depending on whether it’s your first, second, or subsequent offense. Those penalties are as follows:
- First Offense (Third-Degree Felony) – Two to 12 years in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
- Second Offense (Second-Degree Felony) – Two to 20 years in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
- Third Offense (First-Degree Felony) – Five to 99 years (or life) in prison, and fines reaching $10,000
In addition to the above statutory penalties, you could incur a number of collateral consequences as the result of a child pornography conviction. Such consequences include:
- Loss or reduction of child custody or visitation
- Difficulty finding and maintaining employment
- Requirement of registering as a sex offender
- Loss of firearm ownership rights
- Ineligibility for financial aid
- Visa and immigration issues
Any consequence of a child pornography conviction, whether statutory or collateral, can have far-reaching effects on your life that make it difficult to move forward with your future. Being under the microscope of a child sex crime investigation can be daunting, so it’s important to retain the skilled legal counsel of a Houston criminal defense attorney right away.
Part of a Child Sex Crime Investigation? Contact Us Today
If you’re being investigated for a sexual crime that involves a child, a good lawyer is the most valuable asset you can have. Laws regarding child sex crime investigations vary in their nature and scope. Understanding the legal defenses available to you takes time. If you have any questions regarding a child sex crime, The Law Offices of Ned Barnett will answer them. Every situation is unique, and you should not have to handle it alone.