Results

United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas

06/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/22/2021 17:02

Terlingua Man Sentenced to Prison for Running a Child Obscenity Website

MIDLAND - A federal judge today sentenced 65-year-old Thomas Alan Arthur to 40 years in federal prison for operating a website dedicated to publishing writings that detailed the sexual abuse of children.

On January 21, 2021, a jury convicted Arthur of three counts of trafficking in obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of a child, five counts of trafficking in obscene text stories about the sexual abuse of children and one count of engaging in the business of selling obscene matters involving the sexual abuse of children.

According to trial evidence, Arthur began operating the Mr. Double website in 1996, and began charging members for access to the site in 1998. The website was dedicated to publishing writings that detail the sexual abuse of children, including the rape, torture and murder of infants and toddlers. The evidence at trial showed that all submissions for publication were reviewed and approved by Arthur before he posted them on the site. Some of the author pages contained drawings depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Evidence at trial showed that the website was Arthur's sole source of income for more than 20 years. The site was taken offline in November 2019 when the FBI executed a search warrant at his residence near Terlingua, where Arthur administered the site. Pursuant to our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the Netherlands, additional evidence was obtained from the server in the Netherlands where the site was hosted.

Additionally, according to court documents and statements made at the sentencing, Arthur sexually assaulted two females who came forward during the investigation of this case. Court documents and statements made in court showed that in approximately 1992, Arthur drugged an adult woman living with him, sexually assaulted her and video recorded it. In another instance, in the early 1980s, Arthur molested a girl when she was four or five years old, who was the daughter of a friend and business associate.

Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Coburn of the FBI's El Paso Division made today's announcement.

'The despicable, exploitative behavior of the defendant in this case is nothing short of shocking. The 40-year sentence imposed by the court reflects the extremely serious nature of the criminal conduct,' said U.S. Attorney Hoff. 'I am very grateful for the efforts of our law enforcement partners and prosecutors who worked so tirelessly to hold Arthur accountable for his crimes.' Hoff also thanked the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Tennessee for their assistance with this prosecution.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Arthur pay a $50,000 fine and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. Judge Counts also granted the criminal forfeiture to the government of Arthur's residential property, cash proceeds, the Mr. Double website and numerous electronics he used to carry out his scheme.

'This repugnant exploitation of innocent children has no place in society. The FBI will vigorously pursue anyone that profits on the publishing of visual and textual depictions of the sexual abuse and murder of children. Today's sentencing shows that we will work tirelessly to prevent the exploitation of children to the fullest extent of the law,' said Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Coburn. 'FBI is committed to collaborating with our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate these types of cases to ensure predators and their facilitators are found in our communities and face justice.'

The FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Department of Public Safety and Brewster County Sheriff's Office investigated the case. Trial Attorney Austin M. Berry of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Fidel Esparza prosecuted the case with assistance from the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs.

This case was brought 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 U.S. Attorneys' Offices and 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.

###