“Santa Claus” Convicted of Distributing Child Pornography
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 38-year-old Corpus Christi man who worked as a Santa Claus impersonator has pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Reynaldo Ramirez was arrested on a criminal complaint Dec. 24, 2015.
The court heard today that the case began when a detective with the Corpus Christi Police Department was able to successfully download various files containing child pornography from an IP address that was associated with Ramirez. As a result, Homeland Security Investigations was contacted to assist in the investigation (HSI).
In December 2015, 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.
Ramirez admitted that he had been viewing child pornography for approximately six years. He told authorities he had downloaded more than 1,000 images of child pornography ranging in ages from toddlers to pre-teens. Ramirez also admitted to sexually assaulting a four-year-old child.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos accepted the guilty plea today and set sentencing for Aug. 10, 2016. At that time, Ramirez faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Ramirez also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which time the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
Ramirez has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending his sentencing.
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 HSI.
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."