Former Texas Wesleyan University Professor in Federal Custody on Child Pornography Charges
FORT WORTH, Texas — Michael K. Gilbert, 29, appeared in federal court today on the felony charge of shipping child pornography, as outlined in a criminal complaint filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth. Gilbert surrendered to authorities this morning and was ordered detained, following a detention hearing this afternoon before U. S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton. Gilbert is a resident of Fort Worth and a former professor at Texas Wesleyan University. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began when a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while acting in an undercover capacity and using a file-sharing software, downloaded still images of child pornography from an IP address assigned to Gilbert’s residence in Fort Worth. Agents executed a search warrant at the residence and a computer was seized. While agents were at his residence, Gilbert admitted using file-sharing software and that he had been downloading and trading child pornography for approximately 10 years. A forensic examination of the computer seized revealed images and video files depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If convicted of this offense, however, Michael K. Gilbert faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.
This matter 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources.".
Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem is in charge of the prosecution.
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