Local man who traded explicit photos with teen on internet sentenced

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A Killeen man was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday after he earlier pleaded guilty to having an internet-based relationship with a 14-year-old boy.

U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright sentenced Gary Lynn Cates to serve 12 months plus one day in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by 10 years on supervised release, waived assessment of a fine and ordered him to pay $100 in special assessment to the court.

The single, extra day in the sentence is significant because had Albright capped the sentence at 12 months, Cates, by statute, would have had to serve one calendar year, 365-days, but by extending the sentence buy one day, he’ll only have to serve 85 percent, or about 310 days before he’s placed under supervised release.

Cates pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey C. Manske on Sept.18 and, even though he'd previously been free on bond, ordered into federal custody to await the sentencing hearing.

A factual basis admitted in plea hearing shows that on Feb. 5, police began investigating a report of a relationship between Cates and the 14-year-old boy on the internet site Instagram.

“The communication between them had been of a sexual nature, involving the trading of sexually explicit photographs,” the document says.

The victim first was interviewed Feb. 15 at the FBI Waco Resident Agency office and during that interview he reported that he had taken screenshots of many of the messages exchanged between the himself and Cates, many of them requests for the minor to send pictures of his genitalia to Cates, along with offers by Cates to send pictures of his genitalia to the minor, the factual basis says.

Investigators interviewed the minor again on Feb. 21 at the Waco Child Advocacy Center and following that interview were granted a federal search warrant that was served on March 29 to the Instagram company, which ultimately resulted in seizure of “full conversation(s) between Cates and the minor,” the document says.

“The minor was shown five photographs of genitalia that were received by Cates and (he) positively identified himself in all five photographs,” the factual basis reads.

Cates was arrested at his home in North Carolina where, after waiving his Miranda rights against self-incrimination, confessed to asking the minor to send him pictures of his genitalia, which he did via the internet.