Ken Paxton

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Attorney General's Fugitive, Cyber Crimes Programs Reach 100-Plus Child Predator Arrests

HOUSTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Fugitive and Cyber Crimes units have passed the 100 mark in the number of child sex predators taken off the streets and off the Internet in less than 10 months.

Our Fugitive and Cyber Crimes programs are making communities safer by arresting child predators before they can do more harm to our children, Attorney General Abbott said today. We are very proud of these accomplishments and grateful to law enforcement agencies around the state who share our commitment to making these arrests.

The Cyber Crimes Unit, launched by Attorney General Abbott last May, targets online predators by assuming the identities of young teenagers in Internet chat rooms. Investigators have arrested 37 men who used teen chat rooms to arrange meetings with underage victims.
Houston-area men arrested by the
OAG Cyber Crimes Unit

Michael Penton

Kent Steffler

Gregory Battson

Phillip Ashcraft

Michael Kilpatrick

Ravi Venkataramiah

Samuel Tardy

The arrests have been made when the predators drove from as far away as Houston to meet children in Central Texas. Attorney General Abbott is currently expanding Cyber Crimes investigations into other areas through the use of an undercover Internet mobile computer lab.

The Fugitive Unit, formed last August, targets child sex offenders who violated the terms of their parole. Working with other law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s Fugitive investigators have arrested a total of 68 parole violators in 23 Texas counties and six other states, three of them in Florida.

OAG Fugitive Unit arrests made in the Houston area

Horace Cullum

Ruben Lopez

Anthony McCall

Jaime Martinez

Steven Moreno

John Shelander

Donald Black

The parole absconders were convicted of various sex crimes against children. Parole violations that led to their arrests included failing to report to probation officers, being absent without permission, being in locations that might allow contact with young children, and other charges.

To date, seven Houston-area men have been arrested by Cyber Crimes officers after the men drove long distances to meet children at specific locations. Many booked hotel rooms and had alcoholic beverages as part of their plans to seduce their underage victims.

Houston-area men arrested by the Cyber Crimes Unit for attempted sexual crimes against children are:
    Michael E. Kilpatrick, 47
    Ravi Venkataramiah, 39
    Philip Ashcraft, 37
    Samuel E. Tardy, 33
    Gregory L. Battson, 32
    Kent Steffler, 56
    Michael E. Penton, 44, of Magnolia
Parole violators arrested since August by the Fugitive Unit in the Houston area are:
    Horace George Cullum, 53
    Anthony Gerald McCall, 38
    Ruben Jose Lopez, 48
    Steven Moreno, 34
    Jaime Javier Martinez, 44
    John Marvin Shelander, 35
    Donald Ray Black, 68