Former Winnie, Texas, Resident Indicted for Attempted Distribution, Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography
|July 1, 2011|
GALVESTON, Texas – A former manager of a family style restaurant in Beaumont and car salesman in Houston has been indicted and is pending trial on charges of attempted distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Donald Wayne Waters, 44, formerly of Winnie, Texas, and a current resident of Houston, was indicted on June 22, 2011, on the child pornography charges and arrested on June 29, 2011, in Galveston. Today, U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner ordered Waters released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond after a hearing on the government’s motion to detain him without bond. Judge Froeschner added several special conditions including that he be confined to his home and prohibited from the use of an electronic device which could access the Internet and from contact with children. Waters has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is set for trial before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt in Houston on Aug. 29 , 2011.
During today’s hearing, the United States presented testimony in support of its motion to detain Waters without bond about Waters allegedly having made child pornography available over the Internet to others through shared peer to peer folders on his computer. The court also heard testimony that during a search of his Winnie, residence on Aug. 12, 2010, Waters possessed a computer which was found upon examination to contain more than 600 digital images and approximately 50 minutes of videos containing images of child pornography. These images depicted children under the age of 12 being sexually violated by adults and photographed in positions which caused their genitalia to be displayed in a lewd/lascivious manner as well as images depicting children in bondage.
Waters faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 if convicted of attempted distribution or receipt of child pornography. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 upon conviction. Each offense also carries a maximum life term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. Additionally, a conviction for any of the counts charged mandates registration as a sex offender.
The investigation leading to the indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations as part of Operation Predator. The prosecution is 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 http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov./