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CALIFORNIA

A California man was sentenced Friday to 55 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for sexual exploitation of a minor and distribution of child pornography.

USA flagJacob Blanco, 29, of Fresno, plead guilty in May 2020 to sexual exploitation of a minor and receipt and distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

According to court documents, Blanco’s activities were discovered in March 2017 when the parents of a then six-year-old discovered the child had communicated with and created sexually explicit images at the request of another user on the social media application Musical.ly (now TikTok). Law enforcement investigators subsequently identified the offender as Blanco.

Investigators searched Blanco’s residence and digital devices and discovered that he had successfully persuaded and coerced multiple minors to produce sexually explicit material.

“The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to… bare the secrets of government and inform the people.” — Hugo Black

Blanco used various methods of deception and enticement, including by pretending to be a modeling agent or to be a minor himself.

Blanco used Snapchat, Kik, Musical.ly, and other applications to communicate with minor females for the purpose of having those minors create and transmit to him images of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Blanco admitted, as part of his plea agreement, that he communicated with at least 50 minors and asked for and received sexually explicit images from many of them.

“Today’s sentence is warranted due to the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, the large number of minor victims, and the impact that the defendant’s conduct has had – and will continue to have – on the dozens of children victimized by the defendant,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California. “The fact that the defendant used social media to sexually exploit the victims serves as a reminder that the internet can be a dangerous place especially for children.”

By Raul

Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California. He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.

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