Pearland Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Distribution of Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 22, 2010|
HOUSTON—William Scott Nelson, 63, of Pearland, Texas, has pleaded guilty to one count of attempted distribution of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The investigation began on Feb. 3, 2009, when a Houston Police officer working with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, accessed a file-sharing program. The officer saw that a computer had available for sharing 74 files, most of which appeared to be child pornography and some of which matched known child pornography images. The officer determined the computer was using an Internet service subscribed to William Scott Nelson at a residence in Pearland.
Files contained in the shared folder were available for anyone using a similar file sharing program to download at any time Nelson’s computer was logged on to the Internet. Officers determined that some of the videos available for sharing depicted prepubescent girls engaging in oral and vaginal sex with adult males.
A search warrant was prepared and executed on Aug. 5, 2009, at which time Nelson voluntarily went to the Pearland Police Department for an interview. During the search, officers recovered a computer, hard drives, a Kodak digital camera, and magazines that contained photos of nude juveniles and approximately 200 35 mm slides of a nude female juvenile. An examination of Nelson’s computer revealed that he had approximately 5,000 images and hundreds of videos downloaded to his computer and hard drives. The images included prepubescent females along with bondage, penetration, oral sex, and masturbation.
Nelson admitted to being a nudist and believing that photos of nude children were not wrong. Nelson also discussed how he searched for child pornography on the Internet and how he stored it and collected it over many years.
Nelson faces a minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000 as possible punishment at his sentencing, set for March 15, 2011. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Nelson also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
The charges against Nelson are the result of an investigation conducted by the Texas City office of the FBI, the Pearland and Houston Police Departments, and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. Nelson was arrested in March 2010 on the federal charges and has been detained in custody since his arrest.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.