CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A 26-year-old
Corpus Christi resident has been taken into custody on allegations he
distributed child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Authorities arrested Clinton Ray
Stephens this morning. He is expected to make his initial appearance before
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby at 2:00 p.m. today.
According to the charges, an electronic
chat room company notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children (NCMEC) that a known image of child pornography had been uploaded to
an internet chat room identified as “UNderAg3.” The complaint alleges
authorities were able to link the specific IP address associated with a user
known as “Jake” to Stephens. Agents obtained a search warrant for Stephens’s
residence, after which agents seized several digital devices that led to the
discovery of more than 570 images and two videos of child pornography,
according to the charges.
If convicted, Stephens faces a minimum
of five and up to 20 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s
Homeland Security Investigations and Corpus Christi Police Department’s –
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation with
the assistance of NCMEC.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez
is prosecuting 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."