News and Press Releases

Former Winnie Resident Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography

Nov. 21, 2011

GALVESTON, Texas – Donald Wayne Waters, 44, has pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt accepted the plea at a hearing today in Galveston.

The investigation began when the Beaumont Police Department, using peer‐2‐peer software, discovered an IP address registered to Donald Wayne Waters of Winnie, Texas, sharing images and videos of child pornography. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Cyber‐Crimes Division assumed the investigation and executed a search warrant at Water’s address. At that time, they discovered a large volume of child pornography during an onsite preview of the computers in his home. A subsequent forensic analysis of the computer resulted in the discovery of approximately 604 digital images and five videos that depicted children engaging in lewd exhibitions of the genital, sexual intercourse and deviant sexual acts.

As part of the documents in support of the plea today, Waters admitted to searching for and downloading child pornography from the Internet and possessing hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. He also admitted that he had six-eight child pornography websites saved as “favorites” on his computer. He is set for sentencing on Feb. 21, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, at which time he faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Waters  also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by ICE-HSI 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./

HSI investigated with the assistance of the Beaumont Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins is prosecuting the case.

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