HOUSTON – A 35-year-old Texan has entered a guilty plea to coercion and enticement as well as receipt and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Ryan Dale McWhorter had been in a chat group dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children. There, he began communicating with someone he believed to be the stepfather of a 9-year-old girl. McWhorter expressed his sexual interest in the child and asked for naked photos of her, to include her genitals. He also wanted the girl to take a picture of herself touching her stepfather’s penis. The “stepfather” was actually an undercover law enforcement officer.
McWhorter, who was residing in College Station, also discussed his intentions to travel to Florida in order to have sex with the child.
He eventually admitted to the sexual communications. Law enforcement also seized his cellphone. Forensic analysis of that device revealed 40 images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct which included children under the age of 5.
They also discovered another chat, during which he received a video of child pornography and saved it to the photo gallery on his phone.
McWhorter has been in custody since he was found to be a flight risk and a danger to the community. He will remain there pending his sentencing, which is set for Nov. 16 before U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes. At that time, McWhorter faces up to life in prison for the coercion and enticement conviction, while the receipt and possession of child pornography charges carry additional penalties up to 20 and 10 years, respectively. He could also be ordered to pay up to a $250,000 fine.
The FBI – Bryan Resident Agency and Jacksonville, Florida, Field Office conducted the investigation along with the College Station Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.