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Catawba County Assistant District Attorney Jessica Phillips
images courtesy of Nathan Key, Legal Assistant for the District Attorney

Assistant D.A. Honored with S.B.I.’s Award for Merit

Catawba County Assistant District Attorney Jessica Phillips has been honored by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (S.B.I.) for her work in the prosecution of an international child sex enterprise. Ms. Phillips received the S.B.I. Director’s Partnership Award for Merit during a presentation at the S.B.I. headquarters in Raleigh on May 16 of this year.

She was recognized for her work with the S.B.I., the F.B.I., Homeland Security, and forensic computer analysts on a child sex enterprise that originated in the Philippines. Ms. Phillips worked closely in conjunction with the S.B.I.’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit and with Homeland Security to investigate the crimes and build a case that was necessary to bring charges.

Ms. Phillips was able to successfully prosecute a Hickory man, 76-year-old Robert Oliver Parker. Parker entered guilty pleas to three counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in Catawba County Superior Court. On July 25, he was given an active prison sentence of six-to-22 years.

Robert Oliver Parker

In August 2020, Immigration & Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security received a cyber tip regarding a user communicating with and receiving sexually explicit images of minor children from an individual in the Philippines. That report was sent to the S.B.I. for further investigation.

The investigation traced the transmissions to the defendant’s email account. From 2010 through 2020, Parker received more than 16,000 images from the Philippines. The images included more than 30 underage girls.

When interviewed by S.B.I. agents, Parker confirmed his relationship with the contact in the Philippines. He had traveled to the Philippines to engage in sexual intercourse with females while filming and photographing his interactions with them. He denied that the females were under-aged and he also told authorities that he sent money to the individual sending images to him on a monthly basis.

When a search warrant was executed at Parker’s residence, investigators seized multiple items, which were found to contain child sexual assault material. The defendant was observed in thousands of videos engaging in sex with minors. Numerous e-mail conversations were uncovered with the defendant specifically requesting girls and different images or poses