Corpus Christi Man Gets Nine Years for Distributing Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013|
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—Michael Anthony Almendarez, 31, has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of one count of distributing child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Alemendarez pleaded guilty May 30, 2013.
Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head sentenced Almendarez to 108 months in federal prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court considered defendant’s actions in committing the crime and stated that his use of a cell phone to engage in this behavior was particularly harmful since so many children have cell phones.
Almendarez came to the attention of law enforcement after a concerned citizen reported the receipt of unsolicited images of child pornography on his cell phone. The citizen explained that he had previously loaned his phone to a minor female relative who worked with Almendarez at a local restaurant.
One evening while working at the restaurant, Almendarez borrowed the minor’s phone, not knowing it did not belong to her. Almendarez then sent several pictures of child pornography via text message to the phone. By this time, the phone was once again in the possession of the relative who reported the incident to the police.
On August 3, 2012, a state search warrant was executed at the Corpus residence of Almendarez. A cell phone was obtained from Almendarez and found to contain child pornography. Almendarez admitted to having sent the pornographic images to a person he believed to be the young co-worker.
The FBI investigated the case along with the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with assistance of the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, 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."