SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Westminster man has been sentenced to over 8 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Peter Henry Herz, 61, received a 97-month sentence Monday from U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney. Following the completion of his prison term, Herz will be subject to supervised release for the rest of his life. Judge Carney also ordered the defendant to pay $7,500 to one of the victims of his offense. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Takla.
Herz pleaded guilty in February to one count of possession of child pornography, admitting he had still images and videos of child pornography on his digital devices in 2009. After being charged and arrested for that conduct, Herz was freed on bond. While awaiting trial, Herz obtained new digital devices and possessed additional images of child pornography. Herz possessed a total of more than 500,000 images and 369 videos depicting child pornography.
From 2003 through 2013, Herz worked as the pianist and musical director for the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach and was the staff accompanist at the Theater Department at California State University in Fullerton.
This case is the product of 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 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.