POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 8:50pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 3:55pm
Tyler, TX (KETK) — A photographer has been arrested on child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Todd Fleming, 53, of McKinney, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 17, 2013, and charged with 24 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of possession of child pornography. Fleming went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant in Tyler on April 24, 2013 for an initial appearance.
According to the indictment, from 1999 to 2007, Fleming coerced or persuaded minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of photographing such conduct.
To date, eight victims have been identified and confirmed and at least another seven victims are suspected to have been exploited by Fleming. The victims range in age from 12 to 17.
This case is being prosecuted 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 (CEOS), 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 .
If convicted, Fleming faces a minimum of 15 years in federal prison for each of the exploitation charges and up to 10 years for the possession charge.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations DHS-HSI and the Texas Department of Public Safety – Criminal Investigations Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Kummerfeld.
It is important to note that an arrest, indictment, or complaint should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.