Spring Man Convicted of Enticing Nine-Year-Old
|Dec. 6, 2012|
HOUSTON – Spring resident Steve Correa-Franco, 33, has entered a plea of guilty to enticement of a child and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
The charges against Correa-Franco arose in April 2012, when the Rochester, Minn., Police Department responded to a complaint regarding the possible online solicitation of a nine-year-old child. The responding officer met with the child’s parents, at which time the father told police he had noticed the family computer open to the website www.kidzworld.com and saw that his daughter had been communicating with someone. The father further investigated his daughter’s online activity and accessed her Yahoo! email account. In the account, he found extensive chat logs between his daughter and an unknown person with a Yahoo! Username of “Steve Correa,” later identified as Correa-Franco. The majority of the chat activity occurred on April 6, 2012.
During the April 6 chats, the girl told Correa-Franco she was nine-years old. He said he was 16 years old and repeatedly discussed having sex with the young girl. He also sent the daughter several photos of himself which contained images of his face.
Correa-Franco asked the girl to take a nude photograph of herself, which she did using her Nintendo DS handheld game system. She took the photograph with the gaming system, uploaded it to her computer and then emailed it to the address Correa-Franco had provided.
Law enforcement officers were able to trace the email account to Correa-Franco’s residence in Spring. On May 18, 2012, a federal search warrant was executed, at which time agents seized Correa’s laptop computer. Agents were able to confirm the images emailed to the nine-year-old were, in fact, images of Correa-Franco.
A forensic analysis of the laptop computer resulted in the discovery of 210 digital videos of child pornography, including the lewd and lascivious exhibition of the genitals of minor children and actual sexual intercourse involving a nude minor female and adult male. The nude image of the nine-year-old victim taken by her at Correa-Franco’s urging was also discovered.
Correa-Franco faces a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life imprisonment on the enticement conviction as well as another 10 years for possessing child pornography. Both conviction also carry a possible $250,00 fine. He also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who accepted the plea, has set sentencing for March 8, 2013. Correa-Franco will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Rochester, Minn., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe is prosecuting the case.
This case 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."