United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
U.S. Attorney’s Office Targets Child Exploitation Cases
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Friday, December 13, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announces the following indictments, guilty plea, and sentencing. These cases are part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative that was launched to increase federal prosecutions of sexual predators of children, and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment, charging Michael Rea, 24, of Winters, with receiving images of child pornography between June and September 2013. According to court documents, Rea is a registered sex offender with a history of failing to update his registration information. This case is the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Taskforce and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Created with grant funding from the California State Office of Emergency Services, it is composed of members from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County Probation Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Morris is prosecuting the case.
A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Jesse Davenport, 25, of Chico, charging him with Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography. According to court documents, on three occasions between August 27, 2013, and September 4, 2013, Davenport received or distributed child pornography through the Internet. This case was the product of an investigation by agents of the FBI, the California State Parole Board, the Butte County District Attorney’s office. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
A grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Bret Allan Nichols, 29 of Paradise, charging him with production of child pornography. According to court documents, between August 20, 2012, and August 23, 2012, Nichols used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct and recorded it. In addition, Nichols downloaded child pornography through the Internet. This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
If convicted of producing child pornography, Nichols faces a statutory penalty of 15 years to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of receiving or distributing child pornography, Rea, Davenport and Nichols face a statutory penalty of five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gerald J. Ratulowski, 68, of Antelope, pleaded guilty today to receiving child pornography. According to court documents, on October 9, 2012, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at Ratulowski’s house and located several thousand images and videos of child pornography on his computer and on three DVDs that Ratulowski had burned files of child pornography from his previous computer. Some were scenes of sadistic and masochistic conduct, as well as depictions of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. During a statement to law enforcement, the defendant admitted to downloading and viewing the images. He also admitted to having previously molested a nine-year old girl in the late 1990’s.
Ratulowski is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Troy L. Nunley on March 6, 2014. Ratulowski faces a maximum statutory penalty of no less than five years and up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. This case was the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
Daniel Ratner, 45, of Folsom, was sentenced on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to seven years and three months in prison for possession of child pornography. Added to a recent five-year sentence in Sacramento Superior Court for related charges, the combined total sentence is more than 12 years.
According to court documents, Ratner took hidden camera videos with a spy camera located in the bathroom. During a search of the defendant’s computers and other digital devices, 37 movie files and approximately 100 images of child pornography were located. Also found on the computer were a video that Ratner had taken of himself committing sexual battery on an adult female under his care in the intensive care unit of a hospital where he worked. This case was the product of an investigation by the Folsom Police Department and the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted each of these cases.