The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 16, 2011 released the following:
“BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A Brownsville grand jury has indicted Robert L. Hedrick, 60, for attempted sexual exploitation of children, transfer of obscene materials to a minor, distribution and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Hedrick is the president of the Brownsville based Pan-American Airways.
The five-count indictment, returned by the grand jury on Aug. 16, 2011, charges Hedrick with attempting to produce images of child pornography and the transfer of obscene materials to a minor between Sept. 14 and Nov. 22, 2010. Hedrick is also accused of two counts of distributing child pornography between March 8 and Sept. 16, 2010, and again between Sept. 14 and Nov. 22, 2010. Hedrick is also charged with possessing child pornography on July 18, 2011, the date of his arrest.
The initial charges, according to the criminal complaint filed in this case in mid-July 2011, arise out of alleged Internet contact between Hedrick and undercover investigators in Louisiana and Wisconsin posing as minors during two separate operations during which Hedrick is alleged to have shared multiple images of child pornography. That information lead to further investigation by special agents of the Brownsville office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) which has resulted in the additional counts of distribution and possession of child pornography.
Hedrick has been in federal custody since his arrest at his home on July 18, 2011. It is expected the court will set a date for Hedrick’s arraignment on the charges next week.
If convicted of attempted production of child pornography, Hedrick faces no less than 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison without parole. Transfer of obscene material to a minor carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison while distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years to a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. A conviction for possession of child pornography carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Each count also carries a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of no less than five years up to life during which the court can impose any number of conditions designed to protect children. Additionally, registration as a sex offender is mandatory.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys V. LaTawn Warsaw and Carrie Wirsing are prosecuting the case.
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 http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”
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