Tucumari man charged with federal child pornography offenses
This morning, Stephen Hensley, 41, a resident of Tucumari, New Mexico, was arraigned on a four-count federal indictment charging him with child pornography offenses before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson. During this morning's hearing, Magistrate Judge Torgerson ordered Hensley to reside at a half-way house under conditions of release and pretrial supervision pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the indictment charging Hensley was returned by a federal grand jury on December 15, 2010. The indictment was unsealed after Hensley was arrested at his home on January 4, 2011 by the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment allege that Hensley received visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on December 25, 2009 and May 3, 2010, respectively. If convicted of either offense, Hensley faces a minimum five-year term of imprisonment and a maximum twenty-year term of imprisonment. Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment allege that, on July 1, 2010, Hensley possessed computers containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. If convicted of either of these two offenses, Hensley faces up to ten years imprisonment.
The case was prosecuted by the NMSP, ICE and the District Attorney's Office for the 10th Judicial District of the State of New Mexico. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charlyn E. Rees and was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case also was brought as part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force whose mission it is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 61 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the NMAGO. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.