Las Cruces Man Arraigned on Federal Child Pornography Charges
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Steven Vaillancourt, II, 45, of Las Cruces, N.M., was arraigned this morning in federal court on an indictment charging him with child pornography offenses. Vaillancourt entered a not guilty plea to the charges during this morning’s arraignment hearing, and was ordered detained pending trial based on judicial findings that he poses a risk of flight and a danger to the community.
The indictment on which Vaillancourt was arraigned during today’s proceedings was filed on July 18, 2018. It charges Vaillancourt with two counts of distributing child pornography and three counts of possessing child pornography. According to the indictment, Vaillancourt committed the offenses in March 2018 in Dona Ana County, N.M.
Vaillancourt was arrested on child pornography offenses in March 2018. According to the criminal complaint in which he was charged, Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant on an email account, which revealed that Vaillancourt allegedly had been communicating with another individual about sharing and producing child pornography of that individual’s minor children. Vaillancourt also allegedly sent three child pornography images to the individual’s cellular phone through text messaging.
The statutory penalty for a conviction on a distribution of child pornography charge is a mandatory minimum of five years and maximum of 20 years of imprisonment. The statutory penalty for a conviction on a possession of child pornography charge is a maximum of 20 years in prison. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Las Cruces Police Department with assistance from the National Recognizance Office, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s 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 information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the Children’s Advocacy Center at (575) 526-3437, or to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 86 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.