News and Press Releases

ABILENE MAN INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION CHARGES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2011

ABILENE, Texas — A federal grand jury in Lubbock returned a three-count indictment Wednesday charging Charles Linwood Heard, of Abilene, Texas, with various federal child sexual exploitation offenses. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Heard’s appearance date will be set by the Court at a future date.

Specifically, the indictment charges Heard, 55, with one count of attempted enticement of a child, one count of attempted production of child pornography and one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor.

The indictment alleges that from October 10, 2011, through November 15, 2011, Heard, using email and text messaging, attempted to entice an individual whom he believed to be a male child under the age of 18, but who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, to engage in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment further alleges that on October 18, 2011, Heard sent a sexually explicit image via text message to an individual whom he believed to be a minor male under the age of 16. The individual, however, was in fact an undercover law enforcement officer.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, the enticement count carries a statutory sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The attempted production count carries a statutory sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The transfer of obscene matter count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and supervised release.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Abilene Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, Texas, is prosecuting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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