Online Investigation Leads to Child Porn Arrest in Enid

For some people, it is a hard lesson to learn that the internet is not as anonymous as one might think. The Oklahoma Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force continually boasts child pornography arrests among its successes in conducting online stings searching for those who sexually exploit children. Online sexual exploitation of children typically involves downloading, possessing, and distributing child pornography, but it may also include soliciting minors online or lewd or indecent proposals to a child under 16. Regardless of the offense with which one is charged, internet sex crimes carry harsh penalties, sex offender registration, and the prosecutors' pursuit of swift justice. An Enid man has discovered just how easy it is to be lured by a false sense of anonymity when surfing the internet. Timothy Hickenbottom, 39, was arrested on Friday after an undercover online investigation led Enid police and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents to an IP address at a residence in Enid. When investigators served a search warrant at the home, they discovered that the suspect used the internet there but was not a resident. They say that upon questioning Hickenbottom, he admitted to downloading child pornography, and he surrendered his computer to them, acknowledging that it contained pornographic images of children. Remember, regardless of guilt or innocence, anyone suspected by police should decline to speak to investigators and refuse to consent to a search of home, person, or property. Any suspect must insist upon his or her right to an attorney. Hickenbottom was arrested and booked into the Garfield County Jail, where he is being held without bail. As of this writing, he is not listed among the current Garfield County inmates. Under Oklahoma law, anyone who "knowingly possesses, procures, or manufactures, or causes to be sold or distributed any child pornography" (21 O.S. 1021.2) is guilty of a felony sex crime which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, anyone convicted of downloading, possessing, or distributing child pornography must register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender. Furthermore, the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act makes it a separate felony to use the internet, a computer, or a computer network to commit any crime. If child pornography is downloaded, stored, or shared via computer, then the defendant faces an additional 5 years in prison, separate from the maximum 20 years for the underlying child pornography conviction:

"No person shall communicate with, store data in, or retrieve data from a computer system or computer network for the purpose of using such access to violate any of the provisions of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than five (5) years, or by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by both such imprisonment and fine" (21 O.S. 1958).

Read more about internet sex crimes here.

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