LOS ANGELES – A federal judge yesterday sentenced a Santa Barbara County man to 246 months’ incarceration for distribution of child pornography.
Christopher Robin Coates, 43, of Carpinteria, met minors in online chat rooms dedicated to youths seeking father figures and manipulated them into sending him child pornography images of themselves. According to court records, Coates would also share the minors’ online "handles" with other persons seeking to exploit children.
When law enforcement officers searched his digital devices, they found more than 1,000 images and 128 videos depicting child pornography. According to court documents, Coates used the Kik Messenger app to distribute child pornography to underage victims. Coates had several prior convictions for possessing child pornography in addition to a conviction for sexual battery on a disabled adult.
In July, 2015, based on a tip to the Postal Inspection Service by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, law enforcement officers conducted a parole search of Coates’ residence. During the search, authorities recovered a Samsung tablet under a mattress that contained hundreds of images and videos of child pornography.
Coates was originally arrested and charged with multiple child exploitation crimes in Santa Barbara County by Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley. The District Attorney’s Office subsequently dismissed the state charges when the federal indictment was filed.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center provided substantial assistance.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Devon Myers and Vanessa Baehr-Jones of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.