New Caney Man Gets Significant Sentence for Sexual Exploitation of Children
HOUSTON – A 21-year-old local man has been ordered to federal prison for producing child pornography after exchanges on a social media site, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Thomas Anthony Garrett pleaded guilty April 3, 2019.
“If parents or guardians are going to allow their minor children on social media, they must be very vigilant,” said Patrick. “No young child should have unsupervised access to social media and they should not have any accounts a trusted adult cannot access at any time. Sadly, there are too many predators out there that exploit children this way.”
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt handed Garrett a sentence of 220 months. The court heard evidence regarding a pattern of abuse which rendered Garrett a repeat and dangerous sex offender. Garrett had also sexually abused two other minor males – ages nine and 12.
Garrett will serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. Garrett will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
Garrett came to the attention of law enforcement in July 2016. A relative of a 12-year-old male victim had found inappropriate messages and pictures on the minor’s iPod and brought it to authorities in Pennsylvania.
At that time, law enforcement reviewed contents of Facebook Messenger interactions between the victim and an individual later determined to be Garrett. The exchanges included several sexually-explicit images which Garrett had requested and the 12-year-old victim provided. The files included exposed genitals and a video of the minor masturbating.
Through the investigation, authorities learned Garrett met the minor victim on Facebook.
Garrett has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Southwestern Regional Police Department in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, York County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo prosecuted the case 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 www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."