Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a South Carolina man was sentenced Tuesday to 480 months in prison for producing child pornography and traveling to Louisiana to have sex with a juvenile.
Frankie Maldonado, 51, of Reevesville, S.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on two counts of production of child pornography and one count of traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. A federal jury found the defendant guilty on January 4, 2017 after the conclusion of the two-day trial.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Maldonado began communicating with a 15-year-old girl living in Louisiana. The defendant had known the victim since she was about 4 years old, as a result of his friendship with the victim’s father. Maldonado sent sexually explicit pictures of himself to the juvenile using text messaging in June of 2014. Thereafter he requested that she send sexually explicit pictures of herself. After receiving the images, the defendant convinced the victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he watched on Skype. Thereafter, he traveled to Louisiana on June 22, 2014 where he picked up the juvenile, brought her to a motel, and engaged in sexual acts with her while producing images of that sexually explicit conduct.
Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police, Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office High Tech crimes unit investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Jamilla A. Bynog prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) also encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls.
Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online by visiting their website at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone application www.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app. Tips may be submitted anonymously.