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Press Release

Harlingen Man Sentenced for Child Pornography Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 63-year-old U.S. citizen from South Texas has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of possessing of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Charles Elmer Fankhauser pleaded guilty Aug. 28, 2018.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez ordered he serve 97 months. Following the term of imprisonment, Fankhauser must also serve 10 years of supervised release during which time he during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

At the hearing, the court read excerpts from several impact statements as demonstrating that this is not a victimless crime.

On or about Dec. 26, 2017, authorities initiated an investigation of child pornography sharing which led them to Fankhauser’s address in Harlingen. A search warrant later yielded a laptop computer on which forensic analysis showed approximately 33,914 images and 1,776 videos of child pornography.

Fankhauser was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations - Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Corley and Ana C. Cano prosecuted the case.

Updated July 23, 2019

Project Safe Childhood