• July 8, 2024

Choir teacher sentenced

Choir teacher sentenced

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN– A 33-year-old Mexican citizen has been sentenced for receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Orlando Diaz-Ramirez pleaded guilty Sept. 8, 2023, admitting he received 300 videos of child pornography from Israel Flores, 22, Los Fresnos.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now sentenced Diaz to 97 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court heard that Diaz had an additional eight GB of child pornography on his Dropbox account and that he was employed as a choir teacher at a local middle school at the time of the offense. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that by engaging in the receipt of this material, Diaz’ actions fed into the market for the production of child pornography and the possible victimization of future children.

Flores was also previously sentenced to 97 months in prison. Diaz and Flores must also pay $24,000 and $21,000, respectively, to known victims. Both men will also be ordered to register as sex offenders and must serve five years on supervised release, during which time they will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. Not a U.S. citizen, Diaz is expected to face removal proceedings following his sentence.

In October 2020, authorities conducted an investigation identifying an individual uploading child pornography to a Dropbox account. They linked the associated IP address to a residence in Donna that belonged to Diaz.

In April 2021, authorities executed a federal search warrant at the location. At that time, he admitted to downloading child pornography through Kik and uploading it to his Dropbox account. He also stated he possessed a USB drive containing child pornography which he received from Flores.

Authorities then contacted Flores at his residence in Los Fresnos who admitted he provided the USB to Diaz. He had used his Kik account to access accounts in Mega, a cloud-based storage and file hosting service, to obtain the child pornography. Flores then downloaded the material onto the USB drive.

A review of the USB drive revealed 300 videos of child pornography including prepubescent minors under the age of 12 engaged in sexual acts with adults.

Diaz and Flores will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexa D. Parcell prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.

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