March 15, 2011
PEARLAND AREA MAN SENT TO PRISON FOR ATTEMPTING TO DISTRIBUTE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
(HOUSTON) - William Scott Nelson, 63, a Pearland resident, was sentenced to 144 months in prison today by U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison for attempted distribution of child pornography and ordered to register as a sex offender, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Nelson was convicted of the offense after pleading guilty Dec. 22, 2010.
The charges against Nelson were the result of an investigation conducted by the Texas City office of the FBI, the Pearland Police Department (PPD), the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force which began on Feb. 3, 2009, when an HPD officer working with the Houston Metro ICAC task force accessed a file sharing program. The officer saw that a computer had available for sharing 74 files, most of which appeared to be child pornography and some of which matched known child pornography images. Files contained in the shared folder are available for anyone using a similar file sharing program to download at any time Nelson’s computer was logged on to the Internet. Officers determined that some of the videos available for sharing depicted prepubescent girls engaging in oral and vaginal sex with adult males.
After the officer determined that the computer was using an Internet service subscribed to William Scott Nelson at a residence in Pearland, Texas, a search warrant was prepared and executed on Aug. 5, 2009. During the search officers recovered a computer, hard drives, Kodak digital camera and magazines that contained photos of nude juveniles and approximately 200 35 mm slides of a nude female juvenile.
Nelson voluntarily went to the Pearland Police Department for an interview at which time he admitted to officers to being a nudist with the belief that photos of nude children were not wrong. Nelson also told officers how he searched for child pornography on the Internet, stored it and had collected it over many years.
A forensic examination of Nelson’s computer revealed that he had approximately 5,000 images and hundreds of videos downloaded to his computer and hard drives. The images included prepubescent females along with bondage, penetration, oral sex and masturbation.
Upon completion of the 144-month prison term, Nelson has also been sentenced to serve a lifetime term of supervised release during which the court has imposed a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet. Nelson has been in federal custody without bond since his March 2010 arrest.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, 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.
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