Ken Paxton

Monday, April 16, 2007

Woodlands Child Predator Caught by Cyber Crimes Unit Receives Four-Year Prison Sentence

HOUSTON A former church maintenance worker arrested by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit was sentenced to four years in prison for storing child pornography and sexually soliciting a child online.

William Noel Shrum, 26, of The Woodlands, was sentenced Friday in 410th District Court after pleading guilty to five counts of child pornography possession, a third-degree felony. He also pleaded guilty to one count each of online solicitation of a minor, attempted aggravated sexual assault, and attempted sexual performance by a child, all second-degree felonies.

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 Montgomery County District Attorney Michael McDougal and the Shenandoah Police Department for their tremendous assistance with this case.

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators and Shenandoah Police Department officers arrested Shrum in July 2006 after he arranged to meet and sexually assault someone he believed to be a 13-year-old child he had propositioned over the Internet. When he arrived, Shrum discovered the child was an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who had posed as an underage girl online. Forensic analysis conducted by the Cyber Crimes Unit revealed child pornography on Shrum’s computer. At the time of his arrest, Shrum was employed as a maintenance worker at a church in The Woodlands. The church also runs an elementary school.

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting child predators. In 2003, 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 netted more than 500 arrests of such offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against 61 men on child pornography charges.

For more information, contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at