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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 12, 2014

Abilene Man Sentenced To 15 Years In Federal Prison On Child Pornography Production Offense

ABILENE, Texas — A 25-year-old Abilene, Texas, resident, Johnny Ray Martinez, was sentenced on Wednesday, by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, to 15 years in federal prison on a child pornography production offense, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Martinez pleaded guilty in May 2014 to one count of attempted production of child pornography. He has been in custody since his arrest in February 2014 on a related criminal complaint.

According to documents filed in the case, in January and February 2014, Martinez used cell phones to communicate with a female minor whom he had previously met in person, and whose profile he had located online. He initially communicated with the girl anonymously, using alias online identities. He used Pinger, an online texting application, and Facebook, to chat online and text with the female minor. Martinez became sexually explicit with the girl, whom he knew to be 15-years-old, and on more than one occasion, he sent the girl a sexually explicit photo of himself.

After his conduct was reported to law enforcement, an investigation was initiated, during which a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent consensually assumed the identity of the female minor. Communication continued between Martinez and the person Martinez believed to be the 15-year-old girl, with Martinez again sending sexually explicit images of himself.

On February 5, 2014, Martinez used his cell phone to communicate with the person he believed to be the 15-year-old girl and asked her to send him a photograph of her genitals. Although no image was created as a result of Martinez’s request, the request amounted to an attempt by him to cause a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the conduct.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”

ICE HSI and the Abilene Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy prosecuted.

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Updated June 22, 2015