MEXIA (August 29, 2012)--A Mexia man was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday after he earlier pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.
Judge Walter S. Smith sentenced Elmer Gene Ballou, 46, to serve five years in federal prison followed by five years supervised release, and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and $100 in special assessment to the court.
Ballou, whose wife owns and operates a home center, was arrested in May after Mexia police officers and U.S. Secret Service agents served a federal search warrant at Beary Patch Day Care at 912 Bowie St. in Mexia and seized three computers as well as discs and external drives.
On a gray laptop computer, authorities found 88 files with names that indicated they contained child pornography, an arrest affidavit said.
One file name cited in the affidavit was, "Pedo-Station Ptsc Collection Childlover Pedo Sex Daughter Incest Amateur Underage Young XXX Porn Teen Yr Preteen Hussyfan Kids Boylover Lolita Child Kiddy 025.jpg."
Ballou, in a written statement, admitted he had been viewing child pornography since he was in his 30s, the affidavit said and he described the images "as portraying preteen children."
The daycare has been licensed since October 2004, according to online state records.
The investigation that led to Ballou's arrest started in January when an investigator with the Texas Attorney General's Office Cyber Crimes Unit detected that suspected child pornography files were being downloaded from a site suspected of offering child porn, the affidavit said.
The download connection was established from 11:33 p.m. on Jan. 24 until 2:51 a.m. on Jan. 25, the affidavit said.
Investigators eventually traced the computer on which the files were downloaded to the daycare, the affidavit said.
That information was provided to the attorney general's office, whose cyber crimes investigator found evidence that the same computer had been used to download suspected child porn from 11:45 p.m. on April 19 until 2:29 a.m. on April 20.
Federal investigators were again able to trace the computer to the daycare.