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California man pleads guilty in child porn case tied to New Hampshire

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 12. 2018 7:42PM




CONCORD — A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of producing child pornography that he obtained from girls in New Hampshire.

Michael Gutierrez, 34, of Pomona, Calif., will be sentenced Sept. 25, federal prosecutors said.

Gutierrez agreed to a plea agreement entered in court that will subject him to a minimum federal prison term of 15 years up to a maximum period of 30 years.

He will face federal fines of up to $250,000 and supervised release once he’s out of jail for at least five years and up to the rest of his life.

According to court documents, Gutierrez approached minor girls in New Hampshire in 2015 and 2016 through social media, represented himself to be a 14-year-old girl and used false names to persuade girls to send him sexually explicit images.

The false names included “Chloe_is_Awesum,” “spamaccount.c” and “Doogteg.”

“Each victim was a resident of New Hampshire who, on or about the date alleged in the count, was a minor female between the ages of 12 and 16. The evidence would prove the defendant pretended to be a 14-year-old female living in Texas or Florida,” the plea agreement said.

“For each count, the evidence would prove through Instagram records that the defendant befriended the victim and persuaded the victim to send him nude or partially nude images of herself.”

Gutierrez then demanded the girls send additional images and threatened to distribute the ones he had already gotten if they did not comply, officials said.

In some cases, Gutierrez also demanded $100 from the victim or he would distribute the images.

Those who did not either pay Gutierrez or send him more pictures would have the earlier images sent to the online friends of that victim, according to federal prosecutors.

In late 2016, a mother of one of the New Hampshire girls found the demands Gutierrez made of her daughter and reported the issue to the FBI, officials said.

An FBI probe led to agents identifying Gutierrez.

“Gutierrez’s offenses are heinous, and the impact on his victims is immeasurable. He not only abused and exploited vulnerable children, he re-victimized them over and over again because the horrific images stay in circulation forever,” said Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge with the FBI Boston division.

“The FBI will continue to do everything in its power to stop children from being exploited and bring justice to those responsible. This case is a great example of the work that can be done when state and federal law enforcement officers collaborate across state lines.”

Bernell Trapp, a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County, said in court documents that he first began this investigation in December 2016 after the Bedford office of the FBI reported to him that a minor girl known as N.K. was the target of extortion for images of sexually explicit conduct.

The FBI, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the police departments of Goffstown, Milford, New Boston, Mont Vernon and Manchester participated in this case. Staff with the Hillsborough County Child Advocacy Center also assisted, officials said.

In December, the Union Leader reported that several local police departments had “open investigations regarding a shadowy website where users, apparently mostly men, post and request sexual images of young women — they call them “wins.” They trade images of former classmates the way previous generations of boys traded baseball cards.

There’s a “catalog” where you can search for girls from particular high schools, and there are images from communities across New Hampshire: Bedford, Salem, Concord, Raymond, Laconia, Nashua and Manchester.

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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