April 1, 2011
JURY CONVICTS LOCAL MAN OF POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – A 20-year-old Corpus Christi man has been convicted by a federal jury of eight counts of possessing child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Late yesterday afternoon, Gabriel Rios, 20, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was convicted of eight counts of possessing child pornography and acquitted of two counts of receiving and distributing child pornography by a jury’s verdicts.
The verdicts came after three days of trial testimony from both law enforcement and civilian witnesses. During trial, jurors heard testimony regarding the eight videos depicting children engaging in sexually explicit conduct as charged in the indictment. They also heard how Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) detectives, acting in undercover capacities, downloaded several videos of child pornography via a peer-to-peer file sharing program from an IP address linked to the Rios’ Corpus Christi residence in addition to the seizure by CCPD officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents of a computer containing at least 73 videos of suspected child pornography from Rios’ residence pursuant to the execution of a federal search warrant.
Jurors also heard that during the search of his home, Rios admitted using the file sharing program and was aware of the child pornography on the computer, but denied any responsibility for the presence of the material on his computer. However, during trial, several civilian witnesses were called and testified that Rios was the primary user of the computer. Moreover, forensic examination of the computer showed the pornography was obtained on a consistent basis over a period of many months through numerous separate downloads and that many of the videos had been downloaded more than once and previewed while being downloaded.
United States District Judge Janis Graham Jack, who presided over the trial, accepted the jurors’ verdict and convicted Rios of the charges. Sentencing has been set for June 10, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Rios faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment on each of the eight counts of conviction.
Rios has been in custody since Feb. 28, 2011, after violating the terms and conditions of the bond originally granted.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke is prosecuting the case.
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