Pornographic chat room discussions lead to conviction
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 46-year-old Corpus Christi resident has pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
The investigation into Jonathan Follis began when authorities discovered he was participating in chat rooms involving discussions of child pornography. Follis conducted the majority of these conversations using a cellular phone kept in his office at work.
Law enforcement later conducted a search at that office where they discovered a phone hidden under his keyboard. Follis admitted to using the phone to distribute child pornography.
Law enforcement conducted a forensic analysis of the phone. It confirmed Follis had been engaging in chat rooms discussing child pornography utilizing the username “frickenwierdo.” In addition to those rooms, Follis was participated in distributing child pornography in private chats.
The investigation revealed Follis distributed a video of child pornography as recently as April 5, 2023, approximately one month before law enforcement executed the search warrant leading to his arrest.
U.S. District Judge David Morales will impose sentencing May 1. At that time, Follis faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Overman and John Marck prosecuted 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.