Child Predator Sentenced

News Release:

A convicted East Texas felon arrested by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Cyber Crimes Unit was sentenced to 95 years in state prison after a Gregg county jury returned a guilty verdict on one count of attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. Joe Alan Cook, 46, of Longview, was formally sentenced on Thursday in 124th Judicial District Court for using the Internet to solicit a child for sex.

The punishment was enhanced because of Cook's two prior Illinois felony convictions for burglary and home invasion. It is the longest prison sentence ever handed down to an online predator arrested by the Cyber Crimes Unit.

"Texans will not tolerate criminals who prey upon our children," Attorney General Abbott said. "So desperate to meet and sexually assault a child that he arrived on a bicycle, this offender shows the true danger posed by these sexual predators. We are grateful to Gregg County District Attorney Bill Jennings for his assistance with this case. East Texans can rest assured that we put this predator behind bars for a very long time."

Attorney ! General Abbott added: "Thanks to our dedicated Cyber Crimes Unit investigators and Assistant Attorney General Grant Sparks, Texas is a safer place for our children."

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators and Longview Police Department officers arrested Cook in February 2006 after he rode his bicycle to meet someone he believed to be a 13-year-old child he had solicited over the Internet for sex. When he arrived, Cook discovered the "child" was an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who had posed as an underage girl.

Protecting children is one of Attorney General Abbott's top priorities. His Cyber Crimes and Fugitive units have arrested more than 500 sexual predators since he took office in December 2002. The Fugitive Unit locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children.