Modesto Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
FRESNO, Calif. —Anthony Rodriguez, aka Anthony Rito Lara, 34, of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to sexual exploitation of a minor, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in September and October 2020, Rodriguez used a cellphone to create approximately 49 videos and 51 images of a child under 12 years old engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Rodriguez distributed some of these videos over the internet, including one video in which he engages in a sex act with the child.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Modesto Police Department, and assistance was provided by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Withers and Alexandre M. Dempsey are prosecuting the case.
Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Sept. 24. Rodriguez faces a minimum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts to which he pleaded guilty. 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 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.