Local couple sentenced to 60 years in child sexual exploitation case
A Killeen man and his wife, described as “serial child abusers,” and the man’s brother were sentenced to federal prison terms Wednesday in Waco in a child sexual exploitation case.
Christopher Almaguer, 27, his wife Sarah Rashelle Almaguer, also 27, and his brother Paul Perez, Jr., 25, all of Killeen, pleaded guilty in 2018 to enticing children to engage in sexual activity, recording that activity and then distributing it, federal court documents show.
U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright sentenced both Christopher Almaguer and Sarah Rashelle Almaguer to 60-year terms in federal prison, ordered them to pay restitution to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Fund, and upon completion of their sentences to serve on federal supervised release for the rest of their lives, U.S. Attorney John F. Bash said.
“The Almaguers were serial child abusers. They abused 25 children that we know about—children from the neighborhood, children from church, children they babysat. The youngest victim was an infant. And the nature of the abuse was unimaginable. They also made videos of the children’s torture and shared them. These are two of the most wicked criminals in Texas history,” Bash said.
Albright also sentenced Perez to 20 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $10,000 to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Fund.
The married 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.
The two have been in custody since they were arrested earlier this year, along with Perez, who agreed to a plea deal in September 2018.
Complaints filed in all three cases show U.S. Secret Service agents began investigating Feb. 21, 2018 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, 2018 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.