PHOENIX — A Mesa man was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in state prison, to be followed by lifetime supervised probation, after pleading guilty to child molestation charges filed in Maricopa County.
The sentence is the result of an extensive international child pornography investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston, with significant local investigative support from the Mesa Police Department.
Brandon Keith Jones, 27, was sentenced by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Lisa Flores after pleading guilty in February to one count of child molestation and four amended counts of attempted child molestation. In his plea, Jones admitted to repeatedly molesting his nephew and two other children in 2010, all of whom were under 6 years of age. Jones faces additional federal charges for production of child pornography and distributing the material on the Internet.
"Thanks to the cooperative efforts of local and national law enforcement agencies, this sexual predator will spend a significantly long period of time behind bars for ruthlessly violating the innocence of three young children of our community," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Jones was apprehended as a result of a complex, international HSI Boston-led investigation into child pornography videos that were initially seen in the Netherlands. After tracking the videos back to Robert Diduca, 47, a user in the Boston area, HSI Boston special agents served a search warrant on Diduca's computer and discovered that the videos were transmitted to Diduca by Jones in Mesa.
Within hours of the discovery, HSI Boston special agents alerted investigators at the Mesa Police Department, who served a search warrant at the residence where Jones was living with his sister and her son. Investigators identified Jones' nephew as the victim in his videos. A search of his computer found hundreds of child pornography photos and videos. When interviewed by investigators, Jones stated he made the videos as a favor to Diduca. Diduca was prosecuted separately in Boston.
HSI's ongoing efforts to target suspects involved in child exploitation offenses are part of Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative 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-DHS-2-ICE 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.