Individuals accused of sex crimes can be charged under federal or state law. While the consequences for sex offenses under California state law are severe, the penalties for federal charges are often significantly worse. The following is a brief account of 12 individuals who were recently arrested and charged following a federal investigation into alleged crimes involving minors that occurred in California.
A dozen people are facing charges for federal crimes reportedly related to the sexual exploitation of minor children in California. The charges stem from a multi-agency investigation referred to as "Operation Predator." The federal investigation included Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
The investigation involved a number of federal crimes including the sexual exploitation of a child, child sex trafficking, distribution of child pornography and failure to register as a sex offender. While some of the 12 defendants have already accepted plea agreements with federal prosecutors, others are still waiting to be arraigned. According to law enforcement officials, the federal investigations into the 12 cases are ongoing.
Just as each state has its own set of sentencing rules, the federal government also has its own sentencing structure. When sentencing individuals for criminal offenses, federal law directs the court to look at multiple factors such as the defendant's criminal history, acceptance of responsibility and the severity of the crime. These factors, known as mitigating and aggravating factors, can have a significant impact at sentencing.
Source: SPRC, "12 from the Inland Empire charged with an assortment of crimes against children," Aug. 19, 2013