Community Program Employee Held Without Bond on Distribution of Child Pornography Charges

Following a hearing today, United States Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson ordered Christopher Clark Pollett, 62, a Houston resident and employee at a Houston area non-profit community program center, be held in federal custody without bond pending trial on charges of distributing child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Indicted on Jan. 12, 2011, by a Houston grand jury, Pollett surrendered to and was taken into custody by members of the FBI Innocent Images Task Force on Jan. 20, 2011. He has been in federal custody without bond pending today’s hearing. Through testimony presented today, the court learned that Pollett, who was an employee at a non-profit organization dedicated to after-school programs and community development in southwest Houston, was allegedly involved in distributing child pornography, which included images of children under the age of 12 being sexually violated by adults, to others through the use of Peer to Peer software over the Internet.

Moreover, during the course of the investigation, the court learned that several computers in Pollett’s home seized pursuant to a federal search warrant on June 17, 2010, along with 8 mm film reels allegedly contained more than 17,000 digital images and approximately 400 videos of child pornography and books and binders found in the residence also contained images of naked minors.

After the testimony, Judge Johnson found Pollett would present a danger to the community if released and ordered that he remain in the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending trial of the charges. Pollett has pleaded not guilty to the charges and trial is scheduled for March 28, 2011, before United States District Court Judge Lee H. Rosenthal.

Distribution of child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $250,000. The offense also carries a maximum life term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. If convicted of the offense, Pollett would be required to register as a sex offender.

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 FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force which includes members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation leading to the charges. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack.

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.

Source: FBI Press Release