Former Victoria Democratic Party chairman pleads guilty to child porn charges
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Former Victoria County Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Jabbour pleaded guilty to child pornography charges during a hearing on Friday.
Jabbour, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of possession and one count of receiving child pornography via the Internet during a hearing before Senior United States Judge Hayden Head in Corpus Christi.
He admitted possessing and receiving child pornography via newsgroups on the Internet in 2008, according to a news release from the federal prosecutor's office.
The remaining 11 counts of the indictment, which consisted of possessing child pornography in January 2010 and receiving child pornography between August and November 2008, were dismissed.
"I think Mr. Jabbour thought it was the right thing to do rather than put his family through a trial," said John T. Floyd III, Jabbour's Houston-based attorney. "He wants to begin the process of taking responsibility for his actions and begin the process of healing himself and moving forward."
Jabbour's trial was set to begin on Jan. 18.
The investigation into Jabbour was conducted by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations and the Corpus Christi Police Department, which concluded with the execution of search warrants at Jabbour's home and law office in January 2010
That search lead to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of child pornography images and videos - many depicting sadism and masochism perpetrated on prepubescent child victims on several computers and other electronic storage media found in Jabbour's home and law office, according to the news release.
He was arrested on the federal charges at his Victoria law office on Aug. 20.
The former Democratic chairman faces no less than five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment for receiving child pornography and up to 10 years imprisonment for possessing child pornography.
For both acts, he could also receive no less than five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, during which time he would be required to comply with any number of conditions imposed by the court that would be designed to limit Jabbour's access to the Internet and to protect children, according to the news release.
Additionally, he could face a fine of up to $250,000.
Local political leaders expressed their sentiments on Jabbour's guilty plea.
"I think the entire situation is very sad," said Kelli E. Gill, the current Victoria County Democratic Party chairwoman. "This is our justice system, and justice has been served."
"We need to keep his family in our prayers and hope for the best for his kids," said Mike Cloud, chairman of the Victoria County Republican Party.
Floyd said he stood behind Jabbour's decision to plead guilty.
"In order for anyone to do that, they must believe those counts represent their involvement in the activity," said Floyd.
Upon accepting the guilty plea and finding Jabbour guilty, Head ordered Jabbour into the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending sentencing.
Jabbour's sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. March 31.
"We still have a long way to go. It's an initial start in the right direction," said Floyd. "Now, it's a matter of doing all we can to help him get through this and on to the next step in his life."