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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Visalia Man Indicted For Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today charging Steven Christopher Montes, 25, of Visalia, with three counts of sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Brian W. Enos is prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, from November 2013 through August 2014 and while serving as a band teacher at Riverdale High School, Montes knowingly and surreptitiously took sexually explicit videos of minors on campus.

If convicted, Montes faces a possible sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison for each count charged. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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.

Updated April 8, 2015