AP NEWS

San Antonio man gets maximum 30 years for making child porn

April 12, 2019

A San Antonio man has been sentenced to the maximum 30 years in federal prison for sharing online images of himself molesting a toddler.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra turned down requests for leniency by the lawyer for Tommy Ray Garcia, 23, and issued the stiff term at sentencing on Wednesday, in part because his conduct went beyond viewing images.

Garcia admitted that, on multiple occasions in 2016, he sexually assaulted a 16-month-old child and took videos and pictures of the abuse, which he distributed to a group that shared child porn on a social media application, Kik. The images were discovered as part of a connected investigation in Canada by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, records show.

It’s another example of a troubling court case involving child abuse. U.S. Attorney John Bash, the top federal prosecutor in Central and West Texas, wrote an opinion piece that urged for more to be done about child exploitation. The San Antonio Express-News published the piece this weekend.

“Words escape me. The crime here was unimaginably horrific,” Bash said in a news release issued Thursday. “I am grateful that Judge Ezra sentenced Garcia to the maximum allowed by law. The sexual abuse of children is a problem that our country is not doing nearly enough about. We need to wake up.”

U.S. and Canadian law enforcement was assisted in the investigation by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Thompson.

“The heavy sentence imposed on Mr. Garcia sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who exploit children in any way,” said Shane Folden, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio. “Targeting crimes of this nature is a high priority for HSI. We will continue to dedicate HSI resources worldwide to identify and bring to justice these individuals.”

Guillermo Contreras covers federal courts in San Antonio and international legal issues. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | gcontreras@express-news.net | Twitter: @gmaninfedland