Home Sacramento Press Releases 2014 One Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison and Three Others Plead Guilty in Child Exploitation Cases

One Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison and Three Others Plead Guilty in Child Exploitation Cases

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 23, 2014
  • Eastern District of California (916) 554-2700

FRESNO, CA—One defendant was sentenced and three others pleaded guilty to child exploitation offenses in separate cases in federal court today, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

“As these cases make clear, identifying, arresting and prosecuting those who go online to download and distribute sexually explicit images of children is a top priority for HSI and its federal and local enforcement partners,” said Tatum King, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “Many child predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of the Internet shields them from detection, but as these defendant learned firsthand, cyberspace is not a refuge from justice.”

Bakersfield Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison (1:13-cr-241 LJO)

Bradley James Ghilarducci, 67, was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison for receiving child pornography. According to court documents, between February and August 2012, Ghilarducci received images through the Internet of minors engaged in sexual activity. This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. Tierney prosecuted the case.

Tuolumne County Man Pleads Guilty (1:13-cr-00396 AWI)

Curtis Benjamin Hults, 63, of Twain Harte pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of receipt of child pornography. According to the plea agreement, between May 1, 2008, and October 8, 2012, Hults created images of four different minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, stored them on a digital camera, and then transferred them to a computer. Hults also downloaded from the Internet more than 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom were prepubescent and some of the images depicted violence.

Hults is scheduled to be sentenced on September 2, 2014. He faces 15 to 30 years in prison for each of the four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and five to 20 years in prison for the receipt of child pornography charge. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI, the Visalia Police Office, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, and the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

Turlock Man Pleads Guilty (1:14-cr-012-LJO)

Jeffrey Randall Metcalfe, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and distributing child pornography. According to court documents, between January 2012 and December 1, 2013, Metcalfe used a website to communicate with persons interested in exchanging images of child pornography. He knowingly received and distributed more than 600 images of child pornography, some of which were images of violence and prepubescent minors.

Metcalfe is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15, 2014. He faces 15 to 40 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Turlock Police Department.

Former Bakersfield Resident Pleads Guilty to Sharing Child Pornography (1:13-cr-146 AWI)

Robert Aron Sprenkle, 36, of Baltimore, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and distributing child pornography in Kern County, between September 29, 2012, and November 4, 2012. An indictment was returned on April 18, 2013, and Sprenkle was arrested in Clearwater, Fla. where he had relocated. He was released on bond and relocated again to Baltimore. Sprenkles was taken into custody after his guilty plea today and is set for sentencing on September 15, 2014. He faces a sentence of five to 20 years in prison, a potential lifetime term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

This case 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.