DALLAS — Former Ennis, Texas, residents, Buddy Anderson, 39, and his wife, Sharon Lee Anderson, 38, were arrested Thursday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents on federal criminal complaints charging felony child pornography offenses, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.
Law enforcement located the Andersons earlier this month at a homeless shelter in Las Vegas, where they had absconded after leaving their apartment in Ennis last month. They were arrested on related state charges and returned to Ennis.
The Andersons appeared Thursday afternoon in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan, who ordered them detained pending further court proceedings.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints, people hired to clean an abandoned apartment on North Clay Street in Ennis discovered child pornography photographs on the apartment’s porch that were discarded as garbage. Some of those photographs depicted a female child, approximately 5 years old and later identified as Sharon Anderson’s daughter, posing in a sexually explicit manner.
Buddy Anderson is charged with knowingly using a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Sharon Anderson is charged with knowingly permitting her minor daughter to engage in this sexually explicit conduct.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
If convicted, each of these offenses carries a statutory sentence of not less than 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The government has 30 days to present the matter, which remains under investigation, to a federal grand jury for indictment.
This matter was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
ICE HSI and the Ennis Police Department are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Camille Sparks and Lisa J. Miller are in charge of the prosecution.