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Press Release

Newport News Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. –A Newport News man pleaded guilty today to two counts of production of child pornography.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Ernesto Rodriguez Hernandez, 23, of Newport News, used two minor females to produce images of child pornography. Hernandez exchanged messages with Jane Doe 1 using the Facebook messenger application, and received images of child pornography of Jane Doe 1 through Facebook messenger. On Dec. 2, 2016, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at Hernandez’s residence, and seized Hernandez’s computers and other media storage items. An examination revealed additional videos and images of child pornography. After forensic examination, law enforcement identified an additional minor victim, Jane Doe 2, who Hernandez used to produce additional images of child pornography.

Hernandez faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on each count when sentenced on July 12. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan M. Cowles and Lisa R. McKeel are prosecuting the case.

This investigation was a 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16-cr-94.

Updated April 5, 2017

Project Safe Childhood