Sentences and Plea Agreements in Child Exploitation Cases
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 13, 2014|
FRESNO, CA—Today, two defendants were sentenced, three defendants pleaded guilty, and a defendant is back in custody after breaking the terms of his supervised release, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
“While there is no way to undo the despicable crimes committed against these innocent and vulnerable children, it is a relief that the defendants found guilty of these crimes will no longer be in a position to carry out their criminal acts,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. “HSI will continue to work tirelessly with its federal and local law enforcement partners to seek justice for the young victims in these cases, who will bear the emotional and physical scars of these crimes for the rest of their lives.”
Except as noted, all cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Gappa.
Twenty Years in Prison for Idaho Man (1:13-cr-045 LJO)
Allen Trent Carter, 53, of McCammon, Idaho, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to 20 years in prison to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.
According to court documents, Carter was identified during the course of an investigation of his son, Bradley Vaine, 27, of Fresno, who is being prosecuted for trafficking in child pornography. According to a criminal complaint, Vaine and Carter exchanged many images of child pornography and engaged in many chat sessions on Facebook in which they discussed the sexual abuse of children. A federal search warrant was executed at Carter’s residence in Idaho, and he admitted he had exchanged images of child pornography with Vaine in August and October 2012. Carter has been detained in federal custody as a flight risk and danger to the community since his arrest in Idaho on January 8, 2013. The charges against Vaine are pending. He is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices in Fresno and Idaho Falls, Idaho, with assistance from the Idaho State Police and the Bannock County Sherriff’s Office.
Air Force Employee Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison Supervision (1:13-cr-145 AWI)
Ronald Townsend, 30, of Rosamond, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for receipt and distribution of child pornography. He will also be required to serve a lifetime term of supervised release upon his release from prison, during which he will be required to register as a sex offender and his access to the Internet, computers, and minors will be restricted. According to court documents, Townsend came to law enforcement’s attention when he chatted online with an undercover detective on January 30, 2013. At that time, he sent about 40 images of child pornography in order to obtain videos from the undercover detective. Townsend also developed relationships online and on the phone with underaged girls, one 13 and one 16 years old. As part of the plea agreement, he provided the court today with $7,500 that was ordered as restitution.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Bakersfield Cases: Two Plead Guilty and One Admits to Supervised Release Violations
John Brian Noblia, 33, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt and distribution of a visual depiction of a minor engaged in explicit conduct. His sentencing is set for March 31, 2014. He faces a sentence of five to 20 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 HSI. Assistant United States Attorney Megan Richards is prosecuting the case. (1:13-cr-143 LJO)
Fernando David Rangel, 20, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to receiving images of child pornography. He admitted in a plea agreement that he used the Internet and a computer to receive between 300-600 images of child pornography, including images that depicted prepubescent minors and images of violence or sadistic conduct. His sentencing is scheduled for March 31, 2014. He faces a sentence of five to 20 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 FBI. (1:13-cr-280 LJO).
Christopher Kent Bowersox, 42, of Bakersfield, today admitted to two violations of his supervised release conditions in a proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin. Bowersox had been released from prison, after serving a sentence for possession of child pornography and had served five months of a 10-year term of supervised release. He admitted today that he had accessed the Internet and viewed adult pornography in violation of conditions of his supervised release. Bowersox has been in custody since December 26, 2013. He will be sentenced on February 24, 2014, and he faces a potential term of two years in prison. The actual sentence imposed, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. (1:10-cr-082 AWI).
Modesto Man Pleads Guilty to Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography (1:12-cr-384 AWI)
Ted Lee Duran, 49, of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to receipt and distribution of child pornography. According to court documents, a relative of Duran went to Modesto Police and reported finding child pornography on a phone that Duran had borrowed. Further investigation revealed that Duran had received more than 600 images of minors being sexually abused, some of which depicted violence or were of sadistic conduct.
Duran is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. He faces a potential sentence of five to 20 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 FBI and the Modesto Police Department.
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.