ABILENE MAN FACES UP TO 20 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DOWNLOADING IMAGES OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY FROM THE INTERNET
ABILENE, Texas — Connell Wilson Cook, 20, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Abilene, Texas, to one count of transportation of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Cook entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis who set a March 26, 2012 sentencing date. Cook, who has been in federal custody since his arrest on July 27, 2011, when a federal search warrant was executed at his residence in Abilene, faces a statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender.
According to documents filed in the case, Cook admitted downloading several images of child pornography from the Internet, planning to later sell them on the Internet. When agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed the search warrant at Cook’s residence, he was initially cooperative and escorted them to his bedroom to identify his computer. However, as he approached his computer, he lunged toward it, attempting to place a small magnet near its hard drive. In doing so, Cook pushed by HSI agents who then restrained and handcuffed him.
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 is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock.
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