Plano, Texas, Man Arrested and Detained for Attempting to Transfer Obscene Material Over the Internet to a Minor
FORT WORTH, Texas — Following a hearing held yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Douglas E. Fallis, 48, of Plano, Texas, was ordered detained pending further court action. Fallis was arrested on Thursday, May 30, 2012, on a federal criminal complaint, filed the previous day, alleging that he knowingly attempted to transfer obscene materials to a minor and knew that the minor was less than 16 years of age. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, the investigation began in late March 2012, when an officer with the Fort Worth Police Department, while acting in an undercover capacity and posing as a 13-year-old female in a Yahoo! chat room, was contacted by an individual who invited the undercover officer to view his webcam. When the officer clicked on the “view webcam” link, he observed a male, later identified as Fallis, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. During the simultaneous chat between the two, the officer advised Fallis that “she” was 13, but it was unclear if Fallis could read what the officer wrote. However, later the same day, the officer and Fallis chatted again and once again, the officer advised that “she” was 13.
During the following weeks, similar events happened on two more occasions, with the undercover officer still posing as the same 13-year-old female. On the last occasion, when Fallis engaged in live sexually explicit conduct, he concluded saying, “sorry this is wrong, later,” and ended the chat.
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, Fallis faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources.".
ICE HSI and the Fort Worth Police Department are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem is in charge of the prosecution.
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