Tarrant County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Offense
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 12, 2010|
FORT WORTH, TX—Kelly M. Stapleton, 47, of Azle, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning before U.S. District Judge John McBryde, to an indictment charging one count of possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Stapleton, who has been in custody since his arrest in late September, faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for February 25, 2010, before Judge McBryde.
According to documents filed in the case, in late September 2005, FBI agents visited the Stapleton residence based on a lead concerning images of child pornography that had been placed on the Internet from an IP address linked to Stapleton. An examination of Stapleton’s computer was performed and agents discovered child pornography. However, at that time, Stapleton did not admit that he knowingly possessed child pornography. Agents once again interviewed Stapleton on September 1, 2010. He told agents that he had not been truthful in 2005 regarding the child pornography found on his computer. He admitted acquiring the images of child pornography from the Internet.
This case 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lewis.