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Child Exploitation

Southeast Texas man sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison for child sexual exploitation

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local man has been sentenced to 210 months in prison following his conviction for producing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by the Corpus Christi Police Department's (CCPD) Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

David Hernandez, 29, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Hayden Head to 17 ½ years in prison and further ordered to serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of his incarceration. At the sentencing hearing, additional evidence was presented, including the fact that Hernandez had victimized the child over several years. Judge Head also ordered he pay restitution in the amount of $10,000 to the victim and $9,886 to the father of the victim. Hernandez pleaded guilty March 1.

The investigation began March 12, 2011, when a concerned citizen reported a sexual assault in progress at Los Encino's Elementary School in Corpus Christi. CCPD officers arrived at the location and observed Hernandez sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy. When police approached Hernandez, he covered himself and attempted to walk away.

Hernandez was arrested and found to be in possession of a cell phone, which was turned over to CCPD's ICAC. A subsequent search of that cell phone led to the discovery of several videos depicting Hernandez sexually assaulting the boy. Further forensic analysis revealed that the videos were made on the phone by Hernandez between December 2010 and March 2011.

Hernandez has been in custody since his arrest. He will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.