POSTED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 11:09am
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Carlos Cortinas, 40, and Mark Anthony Stokes, 36, of Three Rivers, have received significant sentences following their convictions of sexual exploitation of a child, commonly known as production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Both men pleaded guilty Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.
Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey, who accepted the guilty pleas, sentenced Cortinas and Stokes to respective sentences of 212 and 140 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court considered Stokes cooperation with the government and the fact that Cortinas had victimized two children, but recognized both men had committed the same crime in essentially the same manner. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rainey considered the need to protect the public and deter future criminal conduct. They will both serve 10 years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms and will also be ordered to register as sex offenders.
The investigation began on May 13, 2013, after police responded to a domestic violence call in Three Rivers. Stokes, who had been stabbed and cut by his wife, told officers that his wife had injured him after she discovered nude photos of minor female relative on a flash drive. Stokes admitted to a sexual interest in children for the past 20 years.
Several years prior to this incident, Stokes and Cortinas had a conversation in which both discussed their mutual sexual interest in children. Stokes told Cortinas he had nude images of the young female, which Cortinas asked to see. Stokes then sent some of the images of the child via text message from his cell phone. Within an hour, Cortinas then sent nude images of one of his minor female relatives as well. From that day forward, Stokes and Cortinas would send each other voyeur type images of these minor children taken without the their knowledge as well as other child pornography images downloaded from the Internet. Cortinas also sent nude images of another child which he had taken. State search warrants were executed on both residences which resulted in the discovery of evidence related to the child pornography production described by Stokes.
Both men will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke and investigated by the FBI, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc  and click on the tab "resources."