Santa Clara man, Michael Rivera in federal court to face child pornography charges
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (STL.News) Michael Rivera, 31, of Santa Clara, New Mexico, made an initial appearance in federal court today facing charges of production of child pornography and coercion and enticement of a minor. Rivera will remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for April 12.
According to a criminal complaint, a few days before March 23, 2021, Rivera allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with a victim who was 12 years old at the time. Rivera allegedly began to request naked images of the victim. On Jan. 19, investigators seized the victim’s cell phone and conducted a forensic examination. The examination allegedly revealed sexually explicit images and videos of the victim.
A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Rivera faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison for production of child pornography and a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for coercion and enticement.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is investigating this case with assistance from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Marisa A. Ong is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.