Federal Law Enforcement Investigations Target Child Predators
Bakersfield Man Indicted Today, Other Prior Sentencings and Indictments
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2014|
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the following prosecutions for violations of federal child exploitation laws.
A grand jury in Fresno returned a one-count indictment today against Tyler Certuche, 20, of Bakersfield, charging him with receiving and sharing child pornography in August and September 2013. According to a previously filed criminal complaint, an FBI agent in Oklahoma City obtained several child pornography video files through a file-sharing program from a computer subsequently traced to Certuche. When a search warrant was executed at Certuche’s residence in Bakersfield on February 12, 2014, Certuche admitted that he had used the file sharing program to obtain and view child pornography videos in 2013. Certuche is out of custody and scheduled for arraignment on February 26, 2014.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Gappa is prosecuting the case.
Yuba City Defendant Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Prison
Derrick Jason Pair, 29, of Yuba City, was sentenced on February 11, 2014, by United States District Judge John A. Mendez to eight years and one month in prison, to be followed by a lifetime period of supervised release. According to court documents, Pair came to the attention of law enforcement during the investigation of another defendant. A search warrant executed at Pair’s residence located approximately 2,000 images of child pornography and 50 videos on his computer. Some of the images and videos showed prepubescent children and toddlers and sadistic and masochistic conduct.
Oroville Defendant Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
Michael Adam Cruz, 23, of Oroville, was sentenced on February 12, 2014, by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 10 years in prison, to be followed by a 10-year term of supervised release. According to court documents, in May 2012, Cruz posted an advertisement on Craigslist seeking a young-looking female. He arranged to meet a minor for the purpose of having sex with her and was arrested upon his arrival at the designated meeting point.
Chico, Rocklin, and Roseville Defendants Indicted on February 12, 2014
A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging John Franklin Bye, 45, of Chico, with receiving images of child pornography between 2011 and 2012. Bye was arraigned on February 14, 2014, and pleaded not guilty. He is in custody, and his next court date is April 1, 2014.
A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Paul Ross Pacini, 45, of Rocklin, with receiving images of child pornography between December 28, 2009 and October 13, 2013. At his arraignment on February 12, 2014, Pacini pleaded not guilty. He is in custody, and his next court date is March 11, 2014.
Robert Jones, 49, of Roseville, was indicted for receiving images of child pornography between October 23, 2011 and October 27, 2011. Jones pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on February 18, 2014. He was released on $50,000 bond.
The maximum statutory penalty for each violation of distributing or receiving child pornography is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A conviction for the violation would also carry a mandatory minimum term of five 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.
The charges in the indictments are only allegations; each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases, other than the Bakersfield case, were investigated by the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. ICAC is a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the cases other than the Bakersfield case.
These cases were 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.