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Child Exploitation

Bakersfield man sentenced to 15 years in prison on child pornography charges

FRESNO, Calif. — A Bakersfield man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for receiving child pornography, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Alfredo Hernandez Jr., 37, appeared Monday before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. In addition to the prison time, Hernandez will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a lifetime term of supervised release, during which his access to computers, the Internet and minors will be restricted. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa.

According to court documents, between June 1 and Oct. 1, 2011, Hernandez received still and video images over the Internet depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Many of the images depicted prepubescent minors, and several also depicted images of violence, or sadistic or masochistic conduct. Hernandez also admitted that he had engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual exploitation of one or more juveniles.

This case is a result of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Under Operation Predator, HSI is seeking 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-2ICE 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-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Meanwhile under Project Safe Childhood, the Department of Justice is marshaling 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.