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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 31, 2014

Man Faces Up To 10 Years In Federal Prison On Obscenity Conviction

Defendant Sent Obscene Photograph To 13-Year-Old In San Angelo Area

LUBBOCK, Texas — A Johnson County man appeared in federal court in Lubbock, Texas, this afternoon and pleaded guilty to a federal child obscenity offense, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Christopher Wayne Howard, 26, of Joshua, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after the completion of that report. Howard remains on bond.

According to plea documents filed in the case, in March 2014, Howard engaged in a series of online and telephone texting communications with “Jane Doe,” a person he knew to be a 13-year-old-female. During the communications, Howard often turned the subject to sexually explicit matters. On March 13, 2014, Howard chatted with “Jane Doe” and used an online application to send her an obscene, sexually explicit photograph of an adult male.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s 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 sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the San Angelo Police Department’s Special Operations Division investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy is prosecuting.

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Updated June 22, 2015