Modesto Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Child Pornography
FRESNO, Calif. —Alberto Morales, 31, of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to possessing child pornography, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on February 1, 2013, Morales possessed between 300 and 600 images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images also involved the portrayal of sadistic, masochistic, and other depictions of violence, and included depictions of pre-pubescent minors.
Morales is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on March 17, 2014. In light of a prior conviction, Morales faces a minimum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task force, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Brian W. Enos is prosecuting the case.
“Tragically, this case is not an anomaly — it’s all too common for child sexual predators to reoffend,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Fresno. “That’s why HSI and its law enforcement partners must remain unceasingly vigilant. It’s the only way to protect our youth and ensure that individuals, like this defendant, are held accountable for their crimes.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States 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, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet Safety.