RIVERSIDE, Calif. – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A former resident of Mountain Center has been convicted of federal charges related to his child pornography collection, as well as traveling to New Mexico to have sex with the 7-year-old son of longtime friends.
James Sanders, 62, was convicted of four felony charges on Friday. The federal jury that heard two weeks of testimony determined that Sanders was guilty of conspiring to possess child pornography, possession of child pornography, traveling from California to New Mexico for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a boy under 12 years of age, and traveling across the California state line with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a boy under 12 years of age in December 2000.
As a result of the conviction, Sanders faces a sentence of up to life without parole in federal prison.
Sanders is the latest defendant to be convicted as a result of “Operation Blue Orchid,” an investigation by customs officials into a Russian website that offered child pornography videos for sale. One of the original Blue Orchid defendants had numerous “instant message” communications with Sanders, which led authorities to him and his computers that stored the child pornography. Subsequent investigation led investigators to the 7-year-old boy that Sanders molested in New Mexico.
“This conviction serves as a strong reminder that the sexual exploitation of children is a crime that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. “Those who prey on society’s most vulnerable must be made to understand there are consequences for their crimes and the anonymity of cyberspace and the Internet offers no protection.”
Sanders previously pleaded guilty to child molestation charges in New Mexico and was sentenced to three years in state prison. He was charged with possession of child pornography in a federal indictment in June 2004 while he was in prison in New Mexico. In June 2006, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that charged Sanders with interstate travel to have sex with a minor.
This case is the result of an international investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Brian R. Michael
Assistant United States Attorney Joseph N. Akrotirianakis
Release No. 07-080