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Child Exploitation

Former Las Vegas-area high school softball coach convicted in federal child sexual exploitation case

LAS VEGAS – The former head softball coach at a high school in Henderson, Nev., was convicted Wednesday following a three-day trial of multiple federal counts of child sexual exploitation stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Clark County School District Police.

Albert Silva Hernandez, Jr., 44, of Las Vegas, was found guilty of producing child pornography and exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a female minor. Hernandez previously served as a softball coach at Silverado High School and for a competitive club team. According to the indictment and evidence introduced at the trial, the defendant had sexual relations with one of his 17-year-old players, photographed the sexual acts with his cell phone camera, and sent the images to the girl. Hernandez also had the girl photograph herself nude and send him the images through her cell phone. The images were produced and text messages exchanged between Hernandez and the victim on four separate dates in late 2011 and early 2012.

Hernandez, who remains in custody, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 5. He faces 15 years minimum and 30 years maximum in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

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.

As part of Operation Predator, 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.

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.