AG Paxton Sends Letter to ALI Opposing Revisions that Benefit Sexual Predators
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a multistate letter to the American Law Institute (ALI) objecting that their proposed amendments to the Model Penal Code (MPC) would weaken laws used to prosecute and prevent sex crimes. Paxton and 37 attorneys general had previously sent a letter to the ALI that resulted in positive updates to the MPC, but additional interim revisions passed by the ALI Council have raised important new concerns.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have also criticized the MPC revisions, because they make it more difficult for law enforcement to protect victims while also creating loopholes that sexual predators can exploit to avoid consequences for their acts of depravity.
“The ALI is supposed to work to improve the law, but their proposed changes would cater to criminals while silencing victims of abuse and human trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I will never stop fighting for the safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable and victimized Texans, and I call upon the ALI not to weaken our laws to the advantage of those who commit sex crimes.”
Operation ‘Wash Out’ Results in 38 Arrested for Gang-Related Offenses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 20, 2021
AUSTIN, TX – The Office of the Attorney General assisted in an operation that resulted in the arrest of 38 fugitives wanted for gang-related offenses.
In Bexar County, the Austin Fugitive Apprehension Unit assisted the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force’s warrant initiative, named Operation Wash Out, from September 20-27.
These efforts focused on members of the most violent gangs in the greater San Antonio metropolitan area. As a result of this warrant initiative, the following were arrested – including one of Texas’s Top 10 Most Wanted:
Moses Calderon – Parole Violation for Murder with a Deadly Weapon and Assault Bodily Injury. Member of Hermanos Pistoleros Gang. Texas Top 10 Most Wanted.
Steven Acevedo – Assault Family Violence. Member of Tango Orejon Gang.
Samantha Acosta –Possession of Controlled Substance.
John Anthony Arroyo – Probation Violation for Smuggling Aliens and Stolen Vehicle.
Ruben Benavides – Parole Violation for Aggravated Assault Against Public Servant and 2 counts of Assault Bodily Injury. Member of Klik Gang.
Nicholas Blanco – Racketeering and Murder.
Ricky Ohara Coleman – Parole Violation for Assault Bodily Injury Family Violence. Member of Wheatley Court Gang.
Jonathan Duque – Assault Family Violence.
Brenna Farley – 2 counts of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon.
Rogelio Gloria Flores – Probation Violation for Manufacturing/Delivery of Cocaine. Mexican Mafia Gang Member.
Arturo Garza, Jr. – Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon. Member of Texas Mexican Mafia Gang.
Ceasar Andrew Gomez – Probation Violation for Amphetamine Possession. Texas Syndicate Gang Member.
Adrian Michael Gonzales – Assault Family Violence Strangulation.
Monte Joseph Govan – Parole Violation for Aggravated Robbery, Unlawful Restraint and Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon.
Lane Everett Grinage – Felon in Possession of Firearm.
David Anthony Hernandez – Probation Violation for Dangerous Drugs and Probation Violation for Smuggling.
Larry Guerrero Hernandez – Parole Violation for Unauthorized Use of Vehicle and Assault Bodily Injury. Member of Mexican Mafia Gang.
Linda Flor Ibarra – Aggravated Robbery.
Rolando Lopez – Probation Violation for Smuggling Aliens. Taiza Gang Member.
Rene Arnold Martinez – Tampering with Evidence and Assault Family Violence. Member of Texas Mexican Mafia Gang.
Rafael Resendez – Possession of Controlled Substance.
Nathaniel Xavier Ramirez – Probation Revocation for Evading Arrest and Detention with Vehicle. Member of West Side Varrios Gang.
Humberto Ramos – Possession of Dangerous Drugs. Member of Hermanos Pistoleros Gang.
Michael Roberson – Parole Violation for Possession with Intent to Deliver and Failure to Appear regarding a 2nd DWI. Member of the Bloods Gang.
Ruben Rocha – Assault Public Servant.
Marc Andrew Rodriguez – Assault Family Violence. Member of Tango Orejon Gang.
Guzman Carrizales Sambrano – Parole Violation for Homicide and Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penal Institution.
Jeremiah Sambrano – Failure to Appear Assault and Escape from Custody.
Spurgeon Williams – Probation Violation for Cocaine. Member of East Terrace Crips Gang.
Matthew Alexander Woosley – Felon in Possession of Firearm. Member of Tango Orejon Gang.
Tyson William Yetts – Parole Violation for Assault Family Member.
David Zepeda – Parole Violation for Murder. Member of Mexican Mafia Gang.
Texas children access the Internet all the time — using social media, instant messaging, apps on their smartphones and chat rooms. But dangerous child predators lurk online, too. They’re trying to gain children’s trust for evil purposes.
Recent studies show that 1 in 7 young people have experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online — and 1 in 3 have been exposed to unwanted sexual material online.
The Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units, formed and overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, work relentlessly to keep our children and communities safe by arresting sexual predators/child pornographers and bringing them to justice.
The resources below are intended to help Texas parents protect their children’s safety — especially online.
10 -17 – Age range of children most often targeted by child predators online
527 – Arrests for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
704 – Convictions for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas
Questions & Answers About Cyber Safety in Texas
How can I help fight back against online child predators?
Knowledge is power. Educate yourself — and your children — about cyber safety. Talk to your kids, nieces and nephews, and any adolescent who has access to the Internet about staying safe on the Internet.
Tell them: If they receive any inappropriate contact online, talk to you immediately. It’s OK. They won’t get into trouble. You’re there to help protect them.
As technology evolves, so do the tactics used by child predators. They may use social media, smartphone apps, chat rooms and more — all in an attempt to secure the trust of your children and convince them to meet in person.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has an online program that teaches kids and adults how to be safe online. Visit them at netsmartzkids.org
What is “sextortion”?
Sextortion is a tactic used by online predators to blackmail, groom, entice, coerce, lure and extort their victims into complying with their demands for sexual photos and videos.
These images are used by predators and, often, shared with other predators online. A single victim’s image might be shared with thousands of other predators.
Sextortion predators pose as the child’s peer (or someone of similar age) to gain their trust and illicit images. The predator will often threaten to share the victim’s photos online unless they receive more images.
If you suspect a child has been targeted for sextortion, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can also simply dial 9-1-1.
What challenges does law enforcement face?
When it comes to finding, arresting and convicting online child predators, law enforcement agencies face several challenges. These include:
Staying connected to what’s happening on the Internet both locally and across the globe
Advances in technology (and the tactics that child predators use)
The size and scope of the network of child predators who share images and tips with each other online
The sheer amount of potential leads to follow: The FBI recently reported that on just one anonymous Internet network, Tor, 1.3 million sexually explicit images of children were discovered
What is the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU)?
Introduced in 2003 in order to address the limited resources law enforcement has to fight back against such a large, growing threat as Internet child predators, the CEU investigates and responds to complaints of child pornography online.
The CEU is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Internet Crime AgainstChildren (ICAC) Task Force.” The Texas Attorney General’s CEU is one of three ICAC Tasks Forces Texas — the other two being the Dallas and Houston police departments.
Which laws protect children online?
The primary law to help protect children online is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”
This law aims to protect children’s personal information on websites (and other Internet services, including apps) that are aimed at children under 13 years old. The law also applies to any general audience website that knows it is collecting personal info from children that age.
COPPA requires these sites and apps to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information.
Additionally, there are other federal and state laws that address cyber safety for children. These include:
Electronic communication providers and remote computer service providers must notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline if a user commits a child pornography offense. (U.S. Code 2258A)
It is illegal to solicit anyone under the age of 17 (minor) — or anyone the offender believes to be under the age of 17 — online for sexual contact or to have sexually explicit communication. (Texas Penal Code 33.021)
It is illegal to possess or promote child pornography. (Texas Penal Code 43.26)
How You Can Help
Here is a collection of helpful resources from around the Web that will help you protect your children online.
AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit and Copperas Cove Police Department Arrest Six Men in Sting Operation
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit of his office, in a partnership with Copperas Cove Police Department, arrested five men for Online Solicitation of a Minor and one man for Prostitution during a three-day operation to locate and arrest online predators.
The arrested suspects include:
Josef James Dilly, 31, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Victor Manuel Vascot, 45, of Killeen, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Isaac Figueroa Jr., 28, of Round Rock, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Justin Earl Kepler, 31, of Lampasas, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Jesse Franklin Quidachay, 37, of Copperas Cove, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Demerick Deon Hearne, 47, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Prostitution.
All of the men arrested were transferred to the Coryell County Jail.
“The grotesque targeting of children is a nationwide issue, and this serves as a reminder that our communities must remain vigilant to protect the most vulnerable from exploitation,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I thank the hard-working investigators with my office’s Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit, and the brave police officers of Copperas Cove Police Department for stopping these child-predators from potentially harming more innocent children.”
Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down online predators.
Since its inception, the Child Exploitation Unit has made 264 arrests and obtained 194 convictions on charges of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.
If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC. CyberTipline 1-800-843-5678
Fraud Alert: Scammers Claiming to be
OAG Crime Victim Services Attempting
to Defraud Texans
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned Texans about reported scam callers falsely claiming to be members of the OAG’s Crime Victim ServicesDivision and attempting to obtain personal and financial information from members of the public.
The fraudulent callers are attempting to obtain personal identifying information from the call recipient and ask for money transfers or bank details after baselessly claiming the call recipient’s social security number has been compromised.
The callers are using local numbers and sometimes provide a false “case number” during the call.
The true OAG Crime Victim Services phone number is toll-free 1-800-983-9933 and local number 512-936-1200.
The OAG warns Texans against providing any personal information, such as social security or banking numbers, over the phone with anyone claiming to be from the Crime Victim Services Division, and encourages anyone who receives a fraudulent or scam call to report it to the OAG’s Consumer Protection Division by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-621-0508 or filing a complaint online .