Abilene, Texas, Man Sentenced to 26 Months in Federal Prison for Attempting to Transfer Obscene Material to a Minor
ABILENE, Texas — Charles Linwood Heard, 55, of Abilene, Texas, was sentenced on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis in federal court in Abilene, to 26 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in March 2012 to one count of attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor. Judge Solis ordered that Heard surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on July 19, 2012. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, in October 2011, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) observed an advertisement, for men seeking men, in the Abilene “personals” section of Craigslist.com. Heard, who had anonymously posted the advertisement, stated that he was an adult male looking for a sexual relationship with young males, no older than 24 years of age.
The following day, the agent used an undercover email address to send an email to the ad’s poster. The agent posed as a 15-year-old male, “Jake,” and described himself as skinny with brown hair. A few days later, Heard responded to “Jake’s” email and conversation between the two ensued. “Jake” advised Heard that he was 15 years old, and, after expressing some concern with respect to “Jake’s” age, Heard continued communicating with “Jake” by email and text. On October 18, 2011, Heard sent “Jake” an obscene image, believing that “Jake” was a 15 year-old boy.
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 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." http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The case was investigated by ICE HSI and the Abilene Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, Texas, prosecuted the case.
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