Local Doctor Indicted for Production of Child Pornography
|Jan. 26, 2012|
Judge Orders Him Held Without Bond
HOUSTON - Bernard Albina, 72, of Houston, has been ordered detained pending trial on charges of producing and possessing child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
The three-count indictment returned Jan. 18, 2012, accuses Albina of producing child pornography as far back as 2003 and possessing child pornography in 2009. The indictment also alleges Albina exploited two different children in order to produce child pornography.
According to information presented in court today, the case was initiated when an individual claimed he had been repeatedly molested by Albina over many years and disclosed Albina’s alleged activities. This disclosure lead to an investigation that uncovered at least four additional individuals who were be sexually exploited by Albina. A successful doctor, Albina allegedly made thousands of dollars in payments to these children and, in some instances, their mothers which totaled nearly $200,000. During the execution of several search warrants, images and videos of two children under the age of 10 were discovered, which focused mainly on their genitals.
Arrested on the federal charges on Jan. 23, 2012, Albina was ordered into custody pending the detention hearing today at which time U.S. District Judge Frances Stacy heard evidence regarding the investigation and charges. She found Albina to be a danger to the community and that due to his considerable assets and possible links to Lebanon, he was a flight risk. Based on these findings, Albina will be held pending trial before U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal on March 19, 2012.
If convicted of producing child pornography, Albina faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison in addition to another 10 years for the possession of child pornography. Each conviction is also punishable by a $250,000 fine. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Albina will face a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect the children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 charges against Albina are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.