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Child Exploitation
10/06/2014

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California man charged in Iowa with sexual exploiting a minor to produce child pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa — A California man was indicted Tuesday on federal child pornography charges, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, Southern District of Iowa.

These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Jasper County Sheriff's Office, Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation; and the Iowa police departments of Newton and Baxter.

David Anthony Lavera, 33, of San Diego, California, had his initial appearance and arraignment Oct. 7 on federal child pornography charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Trial is set for Dec. 1. Lavera was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of knowingly producing child pornography (sexual exploiting a minor) and knowingly possessing child pornography.

If convicted on the production/sexual exploitation charge, Lavera faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison, and up to a lifetime of supervised release. If convicted of possessing child pornography, Lavera faces up to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. Both crimes also carry a maximum $250,000 fine.

Lavera was taken into federal custody Monday by the U.S. Marshals Service. At the court appearance, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross Walters ordered Lavera to remain in federal custody pending trial.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/08/2014