Man posed as an underage female on a mobile messaging app called Kik.
HOUSTON – A 25-year-old Houston man has been ordered to report to federal prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.
On Tuesday, District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt sentenced Austin Gray Roberson to 180 months on each count for sexual exploitation of a minor and 120 months for possessing child pornography. The sentences will run concurrently.
Roberson was permitted to remain on bond after pleading guilty on Jan. 27.
“As a parent myself, it scares me to know how easy it is for sexual predators to misrepresent themselves and target children,” said US Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani with the Southern District of Texas.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, evidence showed that Roberson had reached out to 18 underage males requesting that they send him naked photos and videos of themselves.
Roberson said he used the mobile messaging app Kik to target boys between 12 and 17 years of age and admitted to posing as an underage female named “Kayla.”
The press release states that Roberson would send nude selfies and videos of a suspected minor female masturbating in an attempt to get his victims to reciprocate.
“In today’s online world, we must remember to remain vigilant to help protect our kids. I hope this sentence makes these criminals think twice before trying to solicit our most vulnerable for their sick desires,” said Hamdani.
Authorities ultimately discovered 18 minor victims from whom Roberson solicited child pornography, federal authorities said. Roberson was found to have 3,765 images and 746 videos of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images and videos include children under the age of 12, the press release states.