|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Internet cops nab child porn suspect
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Information developed by a Lufkin computer detective has lead to the arrest of a Trinity man on child pornography and sexual assault of a child charges. Charles Thomas Stewart, 27, of Trinity was arrested Thursday, May 27, at his residence after officers arrived armed with a search warrant. He was being held this week under a $100,000 bond on the aggravated sexual assault of a child charge and on a $75,000 bond on a charge of possession and distribution of child pornography. According to Trinity Police Chief Steven Jones, the investigation began a little over a week prior to Stewart’s arrest when Detective Otis Almond, a forensic computer investigator with the Lufkin Police Department, discovered a possible crime involving children. Almond, who also is part of the federally funded Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, searches the Internet looking for those who are downloading or transmitting child pornography. “The detective called me to let me know that he had found a potential suspect who was downloading child pornography here in Trinity. That kicked off our part of the investigation,” Jones said. “He that the suspect appeared to have been downloading photographs of children in both heterosexual and homosexual situations,” Jones said. Jones said the Lufkin officer was able to provide an address where the computer was located and local police were able to quickly determine who resided there. After obtaining a search warrant from District Judge Elizabeth Coker, Jones said that he, Almond and Officer John Raiford went to the residence on May 27, arriving about 9 a.m. Jones said Stewart’s mother and step-father were at home and were cooperative. The mother called Stewart at the Eastham Prison Unit, where he has worked for the past 18 months as a guard, and the man returned home to answer questions. Jones indicated the suspect had been employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the past five years and had worked at other units before being transferred to Eastham. Jones said during that interview, Stewart gave officers a verbal statement that allowed them to take him into custody on the possession of child pornography charge. A number of computers found at the residence were seized and were being examined for evidence. Jones said the suspect had software on his computer that allowed him to bypass computer servers and download and transmit photographs on a “person to person” basis. “It appears he was using it in an effort to avoid detection but it didn’t work Subsequently, officers learned that an 11-year-old local boy who had been in contact with the suspect had indicated the man had coerced him into sexual acts. When confronted with this information, Stewart again gave police an additional statement and the charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child was filed. Jones praised Almond’s work that lead to the arrest. “This is not the first time he’s worked with us. When ever we have a case in which we need a forensic examination of a computer, the Lufkin Police Department has allowed him to assist us,” Jones said. Almond noted that the Houston Metro ICAC is dedicated to identifying and stopping computer crimes which target children. “We have ICACs located in every state now and there are three right here in Texas. In addition to the Houston Metro ICAC, the Texas Attorney General’s office operates one in Austin and the Dallas Police Department operates the third,” he said. Jones added that if anyone has any information regarding the distribution of child pornography or the abuse of a child, they should contact the Trinity Police Department at 594-2505. They also can leave tips anonymously on the Trinity County Crime Stoppers hotline at 642-2334.