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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

April 12, 2012

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Houston Man Gets Federal Prison in Child Pornography Case

HOUSTON – Mario Joseph Ruffino, 30, of Houston, has been sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Ruffino, indicted Feb. 23, 2011, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon on Nov. 22, 2011. At that time, Ruffino admitted to using peer-to-peer software to make child pornography available to others over the Internet.

A list of 110 files being made available by Ruffino was reviewed by law enforcement which were found to be consistent with images and videos involving child pornography. A consensual encounter with law enforcement resulted in a search of Ruffino’s computer on which a forensic examination was conducted and 692 images of child pornography and 121 videos of child pornography were discovered. These images included children under the age of 12 tied up and being penetrated by adult male genitalia.

In handing down the sentence Judge Harmon also ordered he pay $2,000 in restitution to each of two victims in known child pornography series commonly traded over the Internet and to serve the rest of his life on supervised release upon completion of his prison term. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. Ruffino has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Innocent Images Task Force which includes members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

The case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack, 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood 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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."