Ken Paxton

Monday, September 8, 2003

Attorney General Abbott Unveils Cyber Crimes Unit And Announces Four New Indictments After Recent Child Predator Arrests

AUSTIN - In announcing his newly unveiled Cyber Crimes Unit today and its focus on arresting suspected child predators, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also pointed to another round of grand jury indictments handed down last week. This time the indictments were against three men arrested in Hays County in August and one man arrested in Travis County in July.

(Ramos, Kilpatrick, McDaniel)

The three in Hays County, Phillip J. Ramos, Michael E. Kilpatrick and Michael A. McDaniel, were indicted on charges of attempted sexual performance of a child after they arranged to meet 13-year-old "children," allegedly for sex. The children turned out to be Abbott's Cyber Crimes investigators posing as 13-year-old girls online. Each of the suspects allegedly offered to drive to a predetermined location along I-35 to meet the children.

In a separate action in Travis County, a grand jury indicted Naveed Shams, who was arrested in July in Bee Cave. He is charged with three counts of criminal solicitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

The Cyber Crimes Unit obtained indictments against six other child predator suspects on August 6 in Hays County.

Attempted sexual performance of a child is a third-degree felony and carries a punishment range up to 10 years in jail. Criminal solicitation of a minor carries a punishment of up to 20 years.

Including today's indictments, Abbott's officers have taken into custody 15 suspected child predators in Central Texas since May.

The latest arrest occurred in Bastrop County last week. Donald Lee Westbrook III, an employee at Selectron, an Austin high-tech company, was arrested at a restaurant along Texas Highway 71 as he arrived to meet a 13-year-old "girl" he had met in an Internet chat room. The Bastrop County Sheriff's Office assisted in this arrest.

The Cyber Crimes Unit is funded by a grant from Gov. Rick Perry's Criminal Justice Division.