Former Federal Contractor to Serve Seventy-Eight Months in Prison for Federal Child Pornography Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Lawrence Lucero, 65, of Tucumcari, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 78 months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release for his federal child pornography conviction. Lucero’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and George Opfer, Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Lucero was charged in July 2012 in a five-count indictment with three counts of receipt of a visual depiction of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and two counts of possession of matter containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment charged Lucero with receiving and possessing child pornography between March 2012 and May 2012 in Rio Arriba and San Miguel Counties, N.M. During that time, Lucero was employed as a social worker by a company that provided healthcare staff at the Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinics in Las Vegas and Espanola, N.M., under a contract with the VA.
Lucero entered a guilty plea to the indictment in December 2012, without the benefit of a plea agreement. Lucero admitted that in March 2012, the VA began an investigation into concerns that computers on the VA network were being used to access child pornography. The investigation led to Lucero, who admitted to agents that he had accessed the sites and downloaded child pornography images.
Lucero has been in federal custody since his arrest in July 2012. After completing his prison sentence, Lucero will be required to register as a sex offender.
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlyn E. Rees 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 U.S. Attorneys’ 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.