DOJ Seal Department of Justice  
United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe             CELL: (409) 553-9881 DIRECT: (409) 981-7902

EAST TEXAS MEN GUILTY OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
Longview Sex Offender has Child Pornography in Text Messages,
Kilgore man uses Credit Card to buy Child Pornography

            TYLER, Texas – Two east Texas men have pleaded guilty to child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

            Sterling William Blade, 36, of Longview, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

            According to information presented in court, on Feb. 26, 2010, Blade was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.  Blade had been previously convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 1995 in Bienville Parish Louisiana and was required to register with local authorities as a sex offender.  During the arrest, officers located Blade's cellular phone and received consent to search the phone.  An analysis of the phone revealed that Blade had received several text messages with photo attachments containing child pornography.  The search ultimately revealed that Blade had received 34 pictures of child pornography, and likely distributed those images via text messaging.  Officers later located two DVDs in Blade's home, which contained videos of child pornography.  Some of the material depicted children less than 12 years of age engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct.  Blade was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 7, 2010.

            This case is being investigated by the Longview Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.

            Ronnie Ben Chappell, 55, of Kilgore, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.

            According to information presented in court, on Dec. 12, 2009, Chappell consented to a search of his laptop computer after being identified as having used his credit card to purchase child pornography over the internet.  An analysis of the computer revealed approximately 75 images of child pornography, some of which depicted children less than 12 years of age engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct.  Chappell was indicted by a federal grand jury on Mar. 3, 2010.

            This case is being investigated by the FBI, the Kilgore Police Department and the Longview Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.

            These cases are being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

            Blade and Chappell each face up to 10 years in federal prison.  Sentencing dates have not been set.

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