Sacramento, California - A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment Thursday, December 12 against Christopher Espinoza, 27, of Carmichael, charging him with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, in 2018, Espinoza sexually exploited two minor victims, and on January 11, 2019, he was found in possession of several electronic devices that contained child pornography.
Espinoza was arrested and is currently in custody. On Dec. 13, he was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Espinoza faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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 the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.