Houston resident sent to prison for soliciting sexually-explicit videos of minors
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
HOUSTON - A 25-year-old Houston resident has been ordered to federal prison after his convictions of production and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Austin Gray Roberson pleaded guilty Jan. 27, 2022, to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt sentenced him to 180 months on each of the sexual exploitation of a minor counts and 120 months for possessing child pornography. They will run concurrently for a total 180-month-term of imprisonment. The court heard additional evidence as to how Roberson had reached out to 18 different minor males requesting them to send naked photos and videos of themselves to him. In imposing the sentence, Judge Hoyt also considered how Roberson’s conduct affected one of those minors through his victim impact statement.
Roberson was furthered ordered to pay restitution to the victims and will serve 15 years on supervised release following the completion of his prison term. During that time, he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to the internet. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
“As a parent myself, it scares me to know how easy it is for sexual predators to misrepresent themselves and target children,” said Hamdani. “In today’s online world, we must remember to remain vigilant to help protect our kids. I hope this sentence makes these criminals think twice before trying to solicit our most vulnerable for their sick desires.”
In June 2018, authorities in California had executed a search warrant at a residence as a result of a child pornography investigation, at which time they seized several electronic devices. Forensic analysis revealed that individual had been communicating with others on the social media application Kik for the purpose of obtaining and trading child pornography. The investigation revealed Roberson was one of those individuals.
Roberson ultimately admitted he would portray himself on Kik as a minor female named “Kayla” that he would use to target minor males between 12 and 17 years of age. Roberson sent nude selfies and videos of a suspected minor female masturbating in an attempt to get those minor males to reciprocate.
Authorities ultimately discovered 18 minor victims from whom Roberson solicited child pornography.
Law enforcement also conducted a forensic exam on Roberson’s cellphone and found 3,765 images and 746 videos of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images and videos include children under the age of 12, bondage, bestiality and acts of violence such as the penetration of the victims.
Roberson was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources link on that page.
Updated March 23, 2023
Project Safe Childhood