“Santa Claus” Charged with Distributing Child Pornography
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 37-year-old Corpus Christi man who worked as a Santa Claus impersonator has been charged in a criminal complaint alleging he distributed child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The complaint was filed today and alleges Reynaldo Ramirez distributed the child pornography via peer-to-peer software.
Ramirez is currently in state custody on related charges and is expected to be transferred to federal custody and make his initial appearance in federal court in the near future.
According to the criminal complaint, the case began when authorities were able to successfully download various files containing child pornography from an IP address that was associated with Ramirez. Authorities executed a search warrant at Ramirez’s residence, at which time they seized several digital devices. At the time of the search, authorities located a Santa Claus costume in Ramirez’s residence. When questioned about the outfit, Ramirez stated he had performed as Santa Claus for the past 15 years throughout the South Texas area, according to the allegations.
Ramirez had allegedly downloaded more than 1,000 images of child pornography ranging in ages from toddlers to pre-teens, according to information in the criminal complaint.
If convicted, Ramirez faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The charges against Ramirez are the result of an investigation conducted by the Corpus Christi Police Department-Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Updated December 18, 2015
Project Safe Childhood