INDIANAPOLIS – Pedro Ibarra, 48, of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was sentenced today to fifty years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual exploitation of a child.
According to court documents, on June 21, 2021, Ibarra engaged in a Google Duo online chat with a boy who lived in Indiana. The child was under 13 years old at the time. During that chat, Ibarra persuaded the child to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which Ibarra recorded on his cell phone. On June 22, 2021, Ibarra drove from Illinois to Hancock County, Indiana, where he picked the victim up and drove the boy to a local hotel. At the hotel, Ibarra engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the child, which Ibarra recorded on his cell phone.
During the investigation, Ibarra’s cell phone was examined by the Indiana State Police. Officers were able to lawfully access information stored on the device. In addition to images of the Indiana child, an examiner discovered multiple recordings of Ibarra engaged in sexually explicit conduct with another boy. This child was later identified as a boy who lived in Illinois and was younger than fifteen years old.
Ibarra was a Chicago Public School teacher when he committed these crimes and taught elementary school students for more than three years.
“The heinous sexual abuse of these children is every parent’s nightmare. These tragic crimes reiterate that those who seek to sexually exploit our children online and in person are often the people parents and children should be able to trust,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “The significant sentence imposed today shows that federal, state, and local law enforcement will work together tirelessly to identify child sexual predators and send them to prison where they belong.”
“This sentence illustrates our strong commitment to protect our children from those who engage in this type of activity and exploit them,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “Because of the teamwork of the FBI and our law enforcement partners this perpetrator will no longer be able to prey on the most vulnerable in our community.”
“The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department worked to have Ibarra in custody within hours of the child’s report,” said Detective David Wood. “Communities place a tremendous amount of trust in teachers, and when someone in such a position commits crimes of sexual exploitation, it is a reminder of how vigilant we need to be in looking out for our children.”
“Indiana State Police investigators work diligently every day, all across Indiana, and in close collaboration with its law enforcement partners, to help bring to justice those who seek to perpetuate the victimization of children”, said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter.
“Those who perpetuate crimes against children in Hancock County and throughout the State must know that we will do everything within our power to protect our kids and hold offenders accountable,” said Aimee Herring, Hancock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor. “Special thanks to our federal partners and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department for all of their work on this investigation and prosecution which ultimately resulted in Ibarra’s conviction.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indiana State Police investigated the case. The Hancock County Prosecutors Office provided valuable assistance. As part of Ibarra’s sentence, Judge James Patrick Hanlon ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life following his release from prison and ordered Ibarra to pay $30,000 each to both minor victims. Ibarra must also register as sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school, as required by law.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina M. Korobov who prosecuted this case.
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.
This case was brought 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 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 www.justice.gov/psc