Palm Beach man found guilty of receiving child pornography and transporting minor for sex

Miami, Florida – Following a bench trial in West Palm Beach last week, United States District Judge Donald Middlebrooks found a Palm Beach county man guilty of receiving child pornography and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elena Smukler and Dayron Silverio proved that 39-year-old Mauricio Gonzalez was involved in an unlawful sexual relationship with a 17-year-old Bahamian girl who was being sex trafficked.  According to the evidence they presented at trial, the victim was in the United States in 2020.  During that time, Gonzalez had sex with the girl on several occasions.  The two then began an unlawful sexual and “romantic” relationship, which continued after the victim left the United States.  While the victim was in the Bahamas, Gonzalez requested sexual images from her, asked her to participate in live sexual video streams, and otherwise primed their relationship so as to convince the girl to produce sexualized digital content.  Ultimately, the victim recorded a sexually explicit video of herself and sent it to Gonzalez through a messenger application.  Gonzalez flew the victim from the Bahamas to the United States for sex.

Judge Middlebrooks will sentence Gonzalez on October 4, at 10:30 a.m., at the West Palm Beach federal courthouse.  He faces a maximum of life imprisonment, with a 10 year minimum mandatory for transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and a 5 year minimum mandatory for receipt of child pornography.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.   

HSI Miami and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case no. 21-cr-80087.

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