Former Victoria County Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Jabbour was sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison on Thursday for receiving and possessing child pornography.
Jabbour, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of possession and one count of receiving child pornography via the Internet during a plea hearing before Senior United States Judge Hayden Head in Corpus Christi in January.
Head sentenced Jabbour to a 170 months in prison for the receipt of child pornography and 120 months in prison for the possession of child pornography conviction. The sentences will be served concurrently in federal prison without parole.
"I was very disappointed with the court's decision to sentence him at 170 months," said John T. Floyd III, Jabbour's Houston-based attorney. "We asked the judge for a significantly lower sentence that we thought was proper under the circumstances."
He continued, "This is what the judge thought was right."
Jabbour's prison time will be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with additional conditions designed to protect children and the community.
If Jabbour fails to abide by the conditions set forth with his supervised release, he could face an additional prison term.
Jabbour, who is a licensed attorney with a practice in Victoria, has also been ordered to register as a sex offender.
At his plea hearing, Jabbour admitted that between August and November 2008 he received child pornography, consisting of images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, via the Internet and possessed child pornography in January 2010.
During Thursday's hearing, government witnesses testified that Jabbour's collection of child pornography is believed to have been the largest collection of child pornography seized in the Southern District of Texas, and one of the largest seized in the United States. Jabbour possessed in excess of 250,000 images and videos of child pornography and another 400,000 to 500,000 images and videos of child erotica, according to a United States Attorney's Office news release.
Witnesses also detailed Jabbour's online chatting with other people believed to be pedophiles and the exchanging of images and videos with them via the Internet.
According to their testimony, in his online chats, Jabbour repeatedly declared his sexual interest in children between the ages of 0-9 years old; stated he admired child kidnappers; and became sexually aroused when he heard Amber alerts, according to the news release.
Jabbour was arrested at his law office in August, following the execution of search warrants at his home and law office in January 2010.
The investigation leading to the charges against Jabbour was conducted by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations and the Corpus Christi Police Department, as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation.
"Mr. Jabbour did everything he could to take responsibility for his crimes," Floyd said. "He received a tremendous amount of support from people in Victoria. He was thankful and touched for the support given."
Assistant U. S. Attorney Lance Duke prosecuted the case against Jabbour.
Jabbour, who has been in custody following his conviction in January, will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.
Floyd said he and Jabbour will be evaluating findings that were presented to Head in a pre-sentencing report to determine whether they will file an appeal.
In regards to the future of his client's law firm, Floyd replied, " (Jabbour) took every step he could to wrap up his affairs. He did everything he could do to protect his clients."