U.S. Marshals Locate 225 Missing Children in 16 Locations Across the United States During Operation We Will Find You
Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Juan Rivera, age 47, of Moses Lake, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on October 20, 2020, to Conspiracy to Produce Child Pornography. United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Rivera to 20 years in federal prison, well above the mandatory minimum sentence required by federal law. Judge Peterson also imposed a lifetime of court supervision after Rivera is released, required him to register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison sentence, and ordered him to pay $48,000 in restitution to his minor victim. Rivera is a citizen of Mexico who was previously removed from the United States in 2003 and 2009.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, authorities became aware of Rivera’s misconduct in late 2018 when the California Division of Child Services in Tehama County, California (near Sacramento), opened a package containing an anonymous letter. The letter indicated a woman in Tehama County had sent pornographic images of her minor daughter to Rivera, who was then living in Moses Lake, Washington. The letter included an electronic storage device that contained still images and videos of child pornography depicting the woman’s daughter, taken when the child was only 11 years old. The investigation revealed that Rivera and the woman had previously lived together with her daughter in Moses Lake before the woman and her daughter moved to the Sacramento area. After the woman and her daughter moved, Rivera solicited explicit and very specific sexual images of the girl, which her mother recorded and sent to Rivera using their telephones and the Internet. The woman admitted to exploiting her daughter and has been separately convicted and sentenced by California authorities.
The FBI executed search warrants at Rivera’s home in Moses Lake and discovered multiple digital devices containing Rivera’s communications with the victim’s mother, along with multiple images and child pornography videos, including the same images that had accompanied the anonymous letter.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “Today’s sentencing hearing brings to a close a terrible child sex abuse tragedy perpetrated by Rivera and the victim’s own mother. I sincerely hope that the child-victim is able to gain a sense of resolution as she moves forward with her life. The 20-year sentence of Rivera for this heinous child exploitation reflects the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington’s commitment to uncovering such nefarious conduct and protecting the most innocent. It sends a strong message that my office will work closely with our federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners to find and prosecute child predators, no matter where they are.”
Earl D. Camp, Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Office, said: “Child predators inflict lifelong trauma on their vulnerable victims through their vile acts. This sentence sends a powerful message to would-be sex offenders that together with our law enforcement partners, we will pursue justice to help keep the children of Washington State safe.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The PSC Initiative has five major components:
• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
• Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on “resources.”
This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the Moses Lake Police Department, United States Customs and Border Protection, and the Tehama County (California) Sheriff’s Office. The federal case was prosecuted by David M. Herzog, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, in cooperation with Carlee A. Bittle, a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Grant County Prosecutor’s Office.