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Child Exploitation

South Texas man sentenced to 17 ½ years for receiving child pornography

MCALLEN, Texas — A local man was sentenced Wednesday to serve 17 ½ years in prison for receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Xavier Degollado, 31, of McAllen, Texas, appeared before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez who sentenced him to 210 months in federal prison. "This is not a victimless crime," Judge Alvarez said when she handed down her sentence March 28. Judge Alvarez also noted that Degollado has re-victimized young children who have already been sexually abused and has created a demand for such images. The court took that fact into consideration as well as testimony from Dr. Pina, a clinical psychologist who examined Degollado and testified on his behalf. "These children are the saddest type of victims we see," said Judge Alvarez. "This offense can be more devastating that the actual sexual assault because it is continuous."

When Degollado completes his sentence he will also serve 10 years of supervised release and be prohibited from accessing the Internet unless granted permission by his probation officer. Degollado will also be required to register as a sex offender for this offense.

HSI initiated the investigation when they identified a computer at Degollado’s residence associated with child pornography through a peer-to-peer computer network. On Nov. 10, 2011, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at his McAllen, Texas, residence when the child pornography images were discovered on his computer. A subsequent complete forensic examination of his computer resulted in discovering more than 500 still images and 66 videos of clearly young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct; some of these children were under 12 years old. Some of the images are of known victims who have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Just before Judge Alvarez handed down her decision, she took into consideration the graphic nature of the images, the young age of the victims, and amount of images Degollado had collected prior to his arrest.

The court continued the restitution order in this case until May 21, pending arguments from counsel and the government on the issue.

Degollado had been released on bond, but he was immediately remanded into federal custody following the March 28 hearing pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Juan F. Alanis, Southern District of Texas prosecuted this case.

This investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children and the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children using the Internet.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or via its online tip form. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.