“Santa Claus” Sentenced for Distributing Child Pornography
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 38-year-old Corpus Christi man who worked as a Santa Claus impersonator for 15 years has been ordered to prison for distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Reynaldo Ramirez pleaded guilty in May 2016.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos sentenced Ramirez to 235 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by 20 years of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender.
At today’s hearing, the court heard testimony from an HSI agent who described the videos and images of child pornography Ramirez possessed, many of which depicted the sexual exploitation of infants, bondage and bestiality. The agent also testified that Ramirez had admitted to sexually assaulting a five-year-old child. The child’s mother also addressed the court and described the danger Ramirez posed to children.
The case against Ramirez began after a detective with the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) 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 and discovered a Santa Claus costume. Upon questioning, Ramirez stated he had performed as Santa Claus for the past 15 years throughout the South Texas area. Agents also discovered several gifts addressed to children.
Ramirez admitted 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 was arrested on the federal charges in December 2015 and has been in custody since that time where he will remain pending his transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
CCPD - Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and HSI conducted the investigation.
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."