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Feb. 6, 2012

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Former Houston Pilot Convicted of Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography
Millions of images found on multiple devices

HOUSTON – Todd Steven Ewanko, 47, an Humble, Texas, resident and former commercial pilot, has pleaded guilty to distribution and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

On June 20, 2010, an undercover officer with the Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct 4, was conducting an online investigation into the trafficking of child pornography when the officer observed a particular computer actively advertising files for sharing which, based on their titles, appeared to be child pornography. The officer successfully downloaded eight of the 25 available files, one of which depicted a nude prepubescent female lying on a bed on her back, tied up with nylon rope with her genitals exposed in a lascivious manner. The computer was traced to Ewanko in Humble.

On July 1, 2010, officers executed a state search warrant at his residence, at which time they seized a large quantity of computer hardware and storage devices. Of those, two laptops, two desktop computers with a total of 10 hard drives, a digital picture frame and two external hard drives were all found to contain child pornography. Officers also found a number of CD/DVDs, some with a picture label that was itself child pornography and some with written labels indicating it contained child pornography. The officers also noted that the screen saver on a computer also depicted child pornography. The forensic exam on the equipment yielded millions of images and videos containing child pornography or child erotica. 

U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, who accepted the guilty plea today, has set sentencing for May 7, 2012. At that time, Ewanko faces a sentence of at least five and up to 20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the distribution charge in addition to a maximum 10 years and a $250,000 fine on the possession charge. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Ewanko 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 has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending the sentencing hearing.

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe and investigated by the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, 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