Jefferson County Man Guilty of Sexual Exploitation of a Child
BEAUMONT, Texas – A 28-year-old Guatemalan man living in Beaumont, Texas has pleaded guilty to federal child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Cesar Estuardo Hernandez-Cruz pleaded guilty to production of child pornography on Aug. 4, 2015 before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.
According to information presented in court, on Dec. 4, 2014, law enforcement officers were notified by a parent that they had discovered sexually explicit photographs of their child. The photographs had been taken by the child on a cellular phone and had been sent by text message to Hernandez-Cruz at his request. Hernandez-Cruz admitted to knowing the child was only 12-years-old. Hernandez-Cruz was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 3, 2015.
Hernandez-Cruz faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.
This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.