News and Press Releases

Possession of Child Pornography Results in Prison Sentence for Houston Area Resident

Aug, 17, 2011

HOUSTON –  A 51-year-old Houston resident will be serving a two-year-prison term without parole and must register as a sex offender for possessing child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

United States District Judge Keith P. Ellison today sentenced John Anthony Rivera, 51, to 24 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by a life term of supervised release during which he must abide by a number of special conditions designed and intended to protect children and limit his Internet use as well as register as a sex offender. Judge Ellison also ordered Rivera to pay $3,000 in restitution to a victim depicted in some of the images possessed by Rivera which were part of a series of images of victimized children identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Rivera was convicted of possessing child pornography on Nov. 18, 2010, after pleading guilty.

The undercover investigation leading to the charges and ultimately to Rivera’s conviction was conducted by the Innocent Images Task Force of the Houston office of the FBI which is comprised of FBI agents and officers from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and Houston Police Department. A task force officer conducting an undercover investigation into peer-to-peer file sharing program was searching for terms commonly associated with child pornography and found a computer offering images of child pornography for download. After determining the computer was located at a local business, the officer went to the business and found that Rivera, a maintenance man employed by the company, was the owner of the laptop computer in question. Rivera admitted to downloading child pornography for about 1 ½ years and knowing that it was illegal. A forensic exam of Rivera’s laptop found approximately 630 images of child pornography with multiple series of images of victimized children identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

On bond since his July 21, 2009, Rivera has been permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he is to serve his sentence

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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.

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