July 22, 2010
SOLDIER INDICTED FOR TRANSFERRING OBSCENE MATTER TO FORT BEND MINOR
(HOUSTON) - A 20-year-old soldier has been indicted and taken into federal custody for transferring obscene matter to a minor, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
PFC Robert Douglas Dewitt, 20, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., is charged in a four-count indictment returned on July 14, 2010, with providing obscene material by means of a cellular telephone and the Internet to a minor on four occasions between Jan. 14, 2010, and Feb. 10, 2010. The minor resides in Ft. Bend County and met PFC Dewitt online through MySpace. Dewitt was taken into federal custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) on July 21, 2010, in Springfield, Mo., and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge there. He was ordered detained and will be transported to Houston in the near future for arraignment before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Houston.
Each count of transferring obscene matter to a minor carries a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000, upon conviction. Additionally, the court can also impose up to three-year-term of supervised release during which a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet can be imposed. PFC Dewitt is also facing an administrative discharge proceeding at Fort Leonard Wood.
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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 charges against PFC Dewitt are the result of an investigation conducted by members of the ICE-HSI Cyber-Crime Operation Predator Squad dedicated to investigating online exploitation of children and child pornography and the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius K. Bivins is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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