el paso county man pleads guilty to the sexual exploitation of children
DENVER – Kenneth Wayne Hugo, age 37, of El Paso County, Colorado, pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn recently to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced. Hugo is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Blackburn on May 22, 2014. The defendant, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded at its conclusion. Hugo was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on August 6, 2013. He pled guilty on January 22, 2014.
According to the stipulated facts contained in his plea agreement, this investigation began as an offshoot of an Australian investigation into citizens distributing child pornography. This investigation led authorities to Texas. As a result of a search warrant executed in Texas, federal authorities found a computer that contained evidence of emails being exchanged with an individual in Colorado Springs, Colorado, namely, Kenneth Hugo. On January 23, 2013, the FBI and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at Hugo’s residence. During the execution of the search warrant agents and deputies found images depicting prepubescent and toddler aged females being sexually penetrated. It was determined that Hugo started his collection by utilizing a Russian-based image-sharing website to download child pornography images and videos. He also used this website to meet online other like-minded individuals. Hugo also posted images on the site for others to download.
During the subsequent investigation authorities learned that the defendant had inappropriate sexual contact with prepubescent minor females. When minor children slept over at his house during the summer of 2012, Hugo would wait until the minor girls were asleep, sneak into their room, pull down the covers, pajamas and panties, and fondle them, all the while taking pictures using his cell phone camera. Forensic analysis of the items seized during the search warrant revealed 1,600 images of child pornography on the desktop computer and over 4,200 images on the laptop computer. The laptop also contained all the images Hugo had taken using his cell phone of the girls during the sleepovers. An external hard drive contained over 4,000 images of child pornography and a thumb drive contained approximately 290 such images.
Hugo was arrested on January 23, 2013 by state authorities for the sexual assault of three minor girls. Hugo pled guilty to the sexual assault of those girls in state court and was sentenced in November 2013 to an indeterminate term of imprisonment in the Colorado Department of Corrections of four years to life.
The defendant faces not less than 15 years, and not more than 30 years in federal prison for the sexual exploitation of children. He also faces a fine of not more than $250,000.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Valeria Spencer.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab "resources."