(STL.News) – U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. today sentenced Jose Rivera, Jr. (49, Kissimmee) to nine years in federal prison for distributing child sex abuse images over the internet. The court also ordered Rivera to forfeit a Samsung tablet, which he had used to distribute the images.
Rivera had pleaded guilty on February 12, 2020.
According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation, after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone, later determined to be Rivera, had uploaded and shared child sex abuse images on MeWe.com. On December 3, 2019, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Rivera’s home. During an interview, Rivera admitted that he used multiple online chat applications to receive and distribute images and videos of child sexual abuse. Forensic analysis of Rivera’s devices revealed that they contained 2,358 images and 224 videos depicting children being sexually abused.
“This case is another reminder of the child predators that prowl in the online environment,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “Our HSI special agents, working with our partners at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, have taken another criminal off our streets, and out of the digital domain.”
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Harrington.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.