Accused Sex Offender Faces Minimum Sentence of 15 Years in Federal Prison after Pleading Guilty to Filming Child Molestation
RIVERSIDE, California – A San Bernardino man pleaded guilty today in federal court to production of child pornography for filming his sexual conduct with a 13-year-old boy who lived near his residence.
Pedro Ruiz, who also used the name Peter Ruiz, 33, pleaded guilty this morning to one count of production of child pornography, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in federal prison and could result in a sentence of as much as 30 years in federal prison.
Ruiz pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 17.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of our communities, and we are devoted to fighting their exploitation by predators like Ruiz,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Congress has determined that lengthy prison sentences are warranted when people like Ruiz victimize young children.”
In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Ruiz admits that in 2009 he produced sexually explicit videos and images of the 13-year-old victim, who lived only a few houses away from Ruiz. When federal authorities searched Ruiz’s residence in 2010, they found on his computer thousands of videos and images depicting what defendant knew was child pornography.
A further examination of Ruiz’s computer devices revealed distribution of pornographic images of a prepubescent boy. In a combined effort with local law enforcement, FBI agents soon identified the 13-year-old victim, as well as two other local victims.
The San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office last year charged Ruiz with 23 counts of lewd acts upon a child, alleging the molestation of three victims, including the victim in the federal child pornography case. That case is still pending in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Authorities have uncovered evidence, which includes images found on Ruiz’s computer, that there may be other, unidentified victims of child molestation at the hands of Ruiz. Anyone with information about possible victims of Ruiz should contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565.
The case against Ruiz was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation.
Release No. 12-145
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