Two Local Men Convicted of Production of Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 21, 2013|
HOUSTON—Carlos Cortinas, 40, and Mark Anthony Stokes, 35, of Three Rivers, have entered pleas of guilty to sexual exploitation of a child, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
During the pleas today, Cortinas and Stokes admitted that on May 13, 2013, police responded to a domestic violence call in Three Rivers. Stokes, who had been stabbed and cut by his wife, told officers that his wife had injured him after she discovered nude photos of minor female relative on a flash drive.
Stokes admitted to a sexual interest in children for the past 20 years and that he and his friend, Cortinas, had a previous conversation in which both discussed their mutual sexual interest in children.
Stokes told Cortinas he had nude images of the young female, which Cortinas asked to see. Stokes then sent some of the images of the child via text message from his cell phone. Within an hour, Cortinas then sent nude images of one of his minor female relatives as well. From that day forward, Stokes and Cortinas would send each other voyeur-type images of these minor children taken without the their knowledge, as well as other child pornography images downloaded from the Internet. Stokes stated that Cortinas also sent nude images of another child that he had taken. State search warrants were executed on both residences, resulting in the discovery of evidence related to the child pornography production described by Stokes.
Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey, who accepted the guilty pleas, has set sentencing for February 18, 2014, at 4:30 p.m., at which time they each face a minimum of 15 and up to 30 years’ imprisonment. Both have been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke and investigated by the FBI, 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."