|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||April 16, 2014|
Des Plaines Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Sexually
Exploiting 11 Children and Producing Child Pornography
CHICAGO ― A former Des Plaines man was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for sexually molesting nine children and producing child pornography with seven of those victims, as well as creating pornographic images of two other victims whom he sexually exploited. The defendant, BOBBY CRUZ, 34, pleaded guilty last September to one count of interstate travel to engage in sex with a minor and two counts of producing child pornography, resolving separate federal cases that were brought in both the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois. He has remained in federal custody since he was arrested in November 2011.
In an emotional sentencing hearing yesterday afternoon, two victims and a parent of six other victims told U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., about the traumatic damage that Cruz inflicted upon their lives.
“The harm to the victims is incalculable,” Judge Dow said in imposing the maximum sentence under the terms of Cruz’s plea agreement. The “victims are the most vulnerable in society” and Cruz’s crimes were “brazen beyond belief,” the judge added.
Cruz sexually exploited boys and girls, who were between the ages of 2 and 11 when the abuse began, to produce child pornography. None of the victims were random and all were children that Cruz had access to being around. Cruz was ordered to remain under court supervision for life, and he must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
“The defendant has imposed a life sentence on each one of these victims,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Levin argued in seeking the 50-year sentence.
“No amount of prison time seems sufficient for the unspeakable trauma Cruz inflicted on his innocent victims,” said Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago. The sentence was announced by Mr. Hartwig and Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois,
The investigation of Cruz began just before he was arrested when Cruz traded images of child pornography with an undercover law enforcement officer. Ultimately, agents seized 300 videos and images of homemade child pornography from Cruz’s residence, along with 1,130 additional videos and images that he possessed.
The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel abroad for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. The Des Plaines Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.
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