Houston Man gets significant time for sexually exploiting young children
HOUSTON – A 26-year-old man from Houston has received a 30-year prison term following his convictions of producing and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Stephen Edward Torres pleaded guilty June 7, 2019.
Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ordered Torres to serve 360 months for each count of the sexual exploitation of a child, otherwise known as production of child pornography. He also received another 120 months for the possession charge which were all ordered to be served concurrently for a total of 360 months in federal prison.
At the hearing, the court heard evidence regarding a pattern of abuse which rendered Torres a repeat and dangerous sex offender. The abuse included oral and vaginal penetration of the minors who were under the age of 5.
The defense asked Judge Lake to consider the fact that he is “slow,” suffers from substance abuse and has suffered head trauma. However, the government implored asked that Torres be held accountable for the pain and trauma he caused to the young victims - still too young to understand the magnitude of how he has impacted them. The court also heard that what he stole from the children cannot be replaced. Torres not only produced photos documenting the rapes of these minors, but he shared these images via the internet with others who share this sexually-deviant interest in children.
The victims’ mother also provided testimony who detailed the children’s suffering. She told the court how she and the children experience anxiety because of the trauma they endured and how scared the children are to be away from her. “We are thankful for being away from that HEARTLESS DECIEVING SOUL,” she said.
Following the 30-year prison term, Torres will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender and must pay restitution.
Torres came to the attention of law enforcement after a he communicated online with an undercover law enforcement officer and sent child pornography images he created of one of his molestation victims.
Authorities executed a search warrant, at which time they seized a cellular phone and children’s clothes from his residence. Forensic analysis yielded 17 image files and 56 videos that constituted child pornography. Torres produced 16 of the videos himself, some of them which depict Torres violating the minors via oral penetration.
Torres has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood(PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.