Local man, wife plead guilty to child exploitation charges
Christopher Almaguer, 26, and his wife, Sarah Rashelle Almaguer, of Killeen, who were accused of enticing children to engage in sexual activity, recording that sexual activity and then distributing it pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of production of child pornography in U.S. District Court in Waco.
The both face mandatory minimum terms of 15 to 30 years in federal prison on each count.
The couple admitted that in December 2017 “they uploaded sexually explicit videos of themselves sexually assaulting children as young as eight months old. According to court records investigators compiled a list of approximately 25 potential minor child victims, ranging in age from infants to fourteen years of age, from the Central Texas area,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2019.
The two have been in custody since they were arrested earlier this year, along with Sarah Almaguer’s brother-in-law Paul Perez, Jr., who agreed to a plea deal in September and is scheduled for sentencing on Dec.11, according to court records.
Complaints filed in all three cases show U.S. Secret Service agents began investigating Feb. 21 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified the Texas Attorney General's Child Exploitation Unit about a Cyber Tipline report the national center generated based on a report provided by Facebook.
"Facebook.com reported a user for uploading suspected images and videos containing child pornography," the complaint said.
On Feb. 26, attorney general's office agents armed with a federal search warrant showed up at Almaguer’s Killeen home to search for evidence of child porn, the complaints say, and as they were entering the home, they saw Christopher and Sarah Almaguer walking toward the residence.
The couple had five children living with them at their 1101 North 4th Street home when federal agents showed up to serve a search warrant, the complaint filed in Christopher Almaguer’s case says.
Federal agents already had obtained an arrest warrant for Sarah Almaguer and she was immediately taken into custody, after which agents seized her cell phone.
"On March 2, 2018, (agents) reviewed the Forensic Extraction Report on the (seized) … cell phone. Contained in the 'Video' folder of the report are numerous videos containing child pornography," the complaint says.
Agents interviewed Sarah Almaguer after her arrest and she told them she has an old, unused Facebook account that her brother-in-law, Perez, now uses.
“(Sarah) Almaguer stated that she has had a long term, secret, sexual relationship with … Perez that involved multiple productions and distributions of child pornography with children as young as six-months-old,” the complaint naming Perez says.
Sarah Almaguer said Perez “would request for Sarah Almaguer to have sexual contact with children and then send him the videos and/or pictures through Facebook Messenger,” according to the complaint filed in court Tuesday.