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Child Exploitation

Orange County man receives 26-year prison sentence for filming sexually explicit videos of young girl

LOS ANGELES — A previously convicted sex offender from Huntington Beach, Calif., was sentenced Monday to 312 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to production of child pornography for filming sexually explicit videos of an 8-year-old girl.

Gary Samuel Cochran, 53, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson under a plea agreement reached last year. Cochran pleaded guilty in September 2011 to one count of production of child pornography, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum of 25 years in federal prison. Cochran was previously convicted of child molestation in Orange County Superior Court in 1991. The most recent conviction was the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In the plea agreement, Cochran admitted he produced sexually explicit videos of the 8-year-old victim while on a trip to the beach with the girl and her family in 2007. When authorities searched Cochran's residence in 2008, they discovered the videos of the victim, as well as "hundreds of videos and images depicting what defendant knew was child pornography."

"Fighting child exploitation is a key priority of the Justice Department," said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. "Cochran failed to learn from his first conviction and instead engaged in criminal conduct that victimized a child and an entire family, making him worthy of the lengthy sentence imposed by the court."

"As this sentencing makes clear, child sex predators who reoffend can expect to experience the full weight of the law," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Los Angeles. "We will continue to aggressively target those who prey upon and sexually exploit our children. We owe it to the young victims in these cases, who will carry the emotional and physical scars of these crimes with them for the rest of their lives."

Cochran was one of 52 defendants charged in 2008 as part of a coordinated sweep that targeted individuals using peer-to-peer networks to exchange child pornography. Following the prison sentence, Cochran will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.