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Child Exploitation

Fresno man sentenced to 7 years in prison on child pornography charges

FRESNO, Calif. – A Fresno man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison on federal child pornography charges following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Lance Howard Mayes, 43, of Fresno, pleaded guilty in March to charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. At Monday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill ruled that Mayes will also be subject to 15 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian W. Enos prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, from approximately March through November 2011, Mayes received and distributed more than 600 sexually explicit depictions of minors, many of which involved pre-pubescent victims and at least one of which involved sadomasochistic conduct. Mayes has been in federal custody since his March guilty plea.

"As this sentence makes clear, those who use the Internet to obtain and view sexually explicit images of children face serious consequences," said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. "Tragically, every time these materials are downloaded, the young victims are violated again. HSI will continue to work closely with federal prosecutors to see that those who sexually exploit innocent children are held accountable for their crimes."

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including Internet child pornographers.

Led by the U.S. 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.

Under Operation Predator, HSI seeks to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.