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Cargo Airline Founder Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison

Was Convicted On Charges Of Child Pornography In Federal Court

The founder of the south Texas cargo airline Pan American Airways has been sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison after being caught in a child pornography sting online. Robert L. Hedrick, 61, continues to proclaim his innocence, saying he was framed by former business associates. "I didn't do what I was charged and convicted of," he said.

According to a report appearing on the website of KHOU television in Houston, Hedrick, who founded the cargo airline and intended to operate it from a building that was previously owned by Pan American World Airways, had on several occasions in 2010 sent lewd images to undercover officers posing as 13 and 14 year old girls in chatrooms hosted on Yahoo. He also was recorded trying to initiate phone sex with an undercover detective.

While Hedrick is awaiting transfer to federal prison, the holders of the Pan American World Airways trademark released a statement to say that they are in no way connected with Hedrick or his cargo operation.

In the statement, Pan American World Airways indicates that "to the best of our knowledge (the cargo airline) has never operated in any form.  We condemn Mr. Hedrick's actions and offer our heartfelt condolences to those suffering from them.

"Given the repeated references to this episode we believe that it is important to clarify that neither Mr. Hedrick nor his planned airline had any relationship with Dover, NH based Pan American World Airways, Inc., ("Pan Am") the actual successor to the original airline, or any of its affiliates.  To the contrary, since 1998 Pan Am has been actively engaged in preserving the rich history and commitment to luxurious travel made famous by its namesake airline.  Through its unique and innovative product lines dedicated to travel in style, as well as its targeted licensing programs committed to preserving the integrity of the brand, Pan Am continues to represent the best that travel has to offer."

FMI: www.panam.com

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