Ken Paxton

Monday, March 5, 2007

Victoria County Grand Jury Indicts Three Suspected Child Sex Offenders Caught By Cyber Crimes Unit

VICTORIA A Victoria County grand jury indicted two Victoria men and a former Gonzales paramedic for using the Internet to prey upon or exploit children. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit arrested all three suspects and presented their cases to the grand jury.

Texans will not tolerate criminals who prey upon our children, Attorney General Abbott said. The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue its aggressive crackdown on sexual predators and child pornographers. We are grateful to Victoria County Criminal District Attorney Steve Tyler and the Victoria Police Department for their commitment to a safer Texas for our children.

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested 25-year-old Keith Robert Berger, a former Gonzales EMS paramedic, on Feb. 7 after he traveled from Gonzales to Victoria to meet and sexually assault someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy. When Berger arrived in Victoria, he discovered the boy was a Cyber Crimes Unit investigator posing as an underage teen. Berger was indicted for attempted indecency with a child, attempted sexual performance by a child, and online solicitation of a minor.

Dionicio Robles, Jr., 53, of Victoria, was arrested in March 2006 after he sexually propositioned an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who had assumed the online identity of a 13-year-old girl. Robles was indicted on three counts of online solicitation of a minor and seven counts of child pornography possession.

The grand jury also indicted Elmar Ellman, 45, also of Victoria, on two counts each of child pornography possession and promotion. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators executed a search warrant at Ellman’s residence and place of employment. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicated that he was distributing sexually explicit images of children online. Forensic analysis of the confiscated media revealed several images of child pornography. At the time of the investigation, Ellman was a twice-convicted, registered sex offender. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators, working with the Victoria Police Department, arrested Ellman Friday.

Online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Attempted sexual performance by a child; attempted indecency with a child; and possession of child pornography are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting online child predators. In 2002, he launched the Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators by assuming the identities of young teenagers in Internet chat rooms, and the Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children. Attorney General Abbott's initiative has resulted in more than 500 arrests of such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against 57 men on child pornography charges.