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Press Release

Local man admits to fondling minor while producing child pornography

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

HOUSTON - A 38-year-old resident of Montgomery County has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Authorities identified James Aubrey Zachary Wasson after discovering over 500 files of child pornography he had uploaded between March 2019 and March 2021. One folder contained a series of 51 photographs, all taken on a single date in December 2020. Some showed him in a state of sexual arousal next to a minor female child. He also appeared to be fondling her under her clothing.

A subsequent search of Wasson’s cell phone confirmed it was the device he used to produce the series of sexually explicit photographs. The cell phone also contained other files of child pornography saved between May 2020 and May 2021.

The minor victim also identified Wasson and recalled when he took the photographs.

U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks accepted the plea and set sentencing for Jan. 4, 2024. At that time, Wasson faces a minimum of 15 and up to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child, as well as up to 10 years for possession of child pornography.

He has been and will remain in custody pending sentencing.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Bauman 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 September 27, 2023

Project Safe Childhood