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June 4, 2010

HOUSTON MAN ORDERED HELD WITHOUT BOND PENDING TRIAL ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

(HOUSTON) - Curtis John Holt, 71, a Houston resident, has been ordered held in federal custody without bond pending trial on one count each of distribution and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The two-count sealed indictment returned under seal by a Houston grand jury on May 24, 2010, was unsealed on Tuesday, June 1, following Holt’s arrest by FBI agents. Today, United States Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy ordered Holt held in federal custody without bond pending an Aug. 10, 2010, trial before U.S. District Judge David Hittner finding that the release of Holt would pose a danger to the community.

During today’s hearing on the government’s motion to detain Holt without bond, the court heard testimony that Holt was allegedly sharing child pornography images through Peer to Peer software using his home computer between September and December 2009. As part of its investigation, the FBI downloaded several images of child pornography allegedly from Holt. Using information obtained from the downloads, the FBI secured a warrant to search Holt’s Houston residence. A forensic analysis of the computer seized by federal agents from Holt’s residence resulted in the discovery of 21 videos and five still images containing child pornography. 

A conviction for distributing child pornography carries a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. The possession of child pornography carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in federal prison upon conviction. Both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000 as possible punishment. Each of the offenses also carry a maximum life term of  supervised release during which a number of special conditions - including registration as a sex offender - designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet can be imposed by the court. 

The investigation leading to the charges against Holt are the result of Operation Peer Pressure, a national FBI initiative. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States 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 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.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack.

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