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Federal, state charges filed against 3 men linked to sex trafficking and child pornography ring

Federal, state charges filed against 3 men linked to sex trafficking and child pornography ring

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Three men, including a teacher’s aide from the Palm Springs area, are in custody facing both federal and state criminal charges for their alleged involvement in a ring suspected of sex trafficking underage boys and producing child pornography of the victims.

Those charged so far in the ongoing investigation are John David Yoder, 43, a former teacher’s aide for the Palm Springs Unified School District; Erick Alan Monsivais, 29, of Los Angeles; and William Clyde Thompson, 54, of Las Vegas. The men are named in a five-count federal indictment filed in the District of Nevada last week and in three separate criminal complaints filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges are the result of a probe that involved multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other members of the Riverside County Sexual Assault and Felony Enforcement/Internet Crimes Against Children (SAFE/ICAC) Task Force.

Authorities allege that Thompson, who was arrested in Needles last month by the Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team, paid defendant Yoder to recruit underage boys to be photographed for use in child pornography. Yoder, along with Monsivais, came under suspicion after investigators seized Thompson’s cell phone and found both men’s contact numbers on Thompson’s device. Authorities have also received information that Thompson may have recruited young boys to model by frequenting skate parks and other venues where teens and children congregate.

In addition to working as a special education teacher’s assistant at Desert Hot Springs High School, investigators have determined that Yoder had adopted sons and was a licensed foster care provider in Riverside County. Officials with the Palm Springs Unified School District and Riverside County Department of Social Services are cooperating fully with the investigation.

All three men face a battery of federal and state charges. The five-count federal indictment filed by the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office last week includes charges of operating a child exploitation enterprise; conspiring to produce child pornography; and distribution of child pornography. The state charges announced by the Riverside District Attorney’s Office Tuesday include human trafficking; and committing lewd acts on a child, some 10 years of age or younger.

“The charges filed in this case are a stellar example of federal, state and local law enforcement partners joining together to bring down those who commit unconscionable crimes against children,” said Robert Goetsch, assistant special agent in charge for HSI Riverside. “Child sexual predators who believe they can pursue perverse behavior with impunity should be on notice – they cannot escape justice and there will be serious consequences for their actions.”

The SAFE Task Force began its investigation into the ring late last month after receiving information from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children about Thompson’s most recent arrest. Two years ago, Thompson was taken into custody and charged in Nevada with child exploitation crimes. However, he failed to appear for a September 2013 court hearing and was believed to have removed a GPS monitor. Thompson is currently in federal custody in Nevada. Yoder and Monsivais are being held by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“The SAFE Task Force works on the front line to keep children in our county safe, and I applaud all the efforts of that task force,” said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “The District Attorney’s Office is committed to doing everything we can do to ensure that those who prey upon our children are brought to justice and to ensure that our children are safe.”

In March 2014, the Desert Hot Springs Police Department received reports about two men trying to solicit young boys at a skate park to do modeling. No one was identified or arrested at that time. SAFE Task Force investigators followed up on those reports and now believe the two men were Yoder and Thompson.

Authorities believe there may be additional unidentified victims in this case. Members of the public who may have information that would be relevant to this investigation are urged to call the SAFE/ICAC task force toll-free at 1-866-SAFE595 (1-866-723-3595).

Author: Matrix Today
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