FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS 76-YEAR-OLD HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS, MAN ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENSES
ABILENE, Texas — Following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, a federal jury in Abilene, Texas, convicted Harvey James Pelland, 76, of Big Spring, Texas, on all seven counts of a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Lubbock, Texas, in January 2011. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, the jury found Pelland guilty of two counts of possessing child pornography and five counts of receiving a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Sentencing has been set for June 6, 2011, in Abilene. Each count of possession of child pornography carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and each count of receipt of a depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct carries a statutory sentence of not less than five years, nor more than 20 years imprisonment. Each of the seven counts requires a lifetime of supervised release. Pelland has been in custody since his arrest on April 6, 2009, on a state charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Pelland entered a guilty plea to the state charge on July 19, 2009.
The government presented evidence at trial that in late March and early April 2009, while Pelland was living in Big Spring, he possessed images of child pornography and received images of child pornography from the Internet.
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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Big Spring Police Department, and the Howard County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, are in charge of the prosecution.
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