In Waco this morning, a federal judge sentenced 51–year–old Shozo “Sho” Tanaka to 40 years in federal prison for producing and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs and Temple Police Chief Jim Tobin.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright ordered that Tanaka pay a $10,000 assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and be placed on supervised release for the remainder of his life after completing his prison term.
“The 40-year sentence imposed in this case is a just punishment for the unconscionable abuse of a child. Our office does nothing more important than prosecuting predators to make sure they can never hurt children again,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
On August 6, 2019, Tanaka pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and one count possession of child pornography. According to court records, from August 2014 to June 2018, Tanaka coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual images of such activity. On November 19, 2018, officers with the Temple Police Department executed a search warrant at the defendant’s address. At that location, authorities seized numerous electronic items and storage devices. A subsequent forensics review of the seized materials revealed numerous videos that contained video footage of the minor victim being sexually assaulted by the defendant. Tanaka has remained in custody since November 19, 2018.
The FBI and Temple Police Department investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.