Green Bay Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child
James L. Santelle, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on March 23, 2015, Joseph J. Valdez (age: 29) of Green Bay, Wisconsin, appeared in federal court in Green Bay and pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual exploitation of a child in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a).
Valdez used his smart phone to entice, persuade, and coerce scores of underage girls to send him sexually explicit photographs of themselves under the pretense that he was a “modelling agent.” Valdez used text messaging applications and the messenger service “Kik” to contact hundreds of underage girls, some as young as nine years old. After receiving sexually explicit photographs of the underage girls, Valdez would oftentimes blackmail the victims into sending increasingly graphic images under the threat of forwarding the sexually explicit images already in his possession to the girls’ parents, friends, and school administrators. Several victims threatened suicide in response. Victims included underage girls from several counties in northeast Wisconsin, as well as girls from across the United States.
The charge to which Valdez pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and between five years and a lifetime of supervised release. Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced on June 22, 2015. He remains incarcerated pending that hearing.
The case was investigated by the Seymour Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the U.S. Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.