A Ceres man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after he was convicted of telling an undercover investigator posing as a single mother he wanted to molest her children, according to federal prosecutors.
Ronald Wayne Martin, 39, was convicted of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor in federal court. The prosecutors said he has been in custody since Sept. 24.
A federal judge has ordered Martin to pay $2,500 in restitution to a victim in a child pornography image he possessed, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
Once he is released from prison, Martin must comply with supervision by authorities for the rest of his life. He will be required to register as a sex offender, participate in sex offender treatment and have restricted access to minors, computers and the Internet.
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According to court documents, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service began investigating Martin after he initiated online communication with the undercover investigator, who was posing as a widowed 32-year-old mother of two daughters, ages 8 and 12.
Martin sent the investigator pornographic images and described how he wanted to molest the children, the prosecutors said. In many e-mails and telephone calls, Martin asked the investigator to take sexually explicit photos of her daughters and help him molest the girls.
Martin planned to molest the children after he traveled to Washington from California. The prosecutors said Martin sent the investigator a digital camera and clothing for one of the girls with instructions on how the photos should be taken.
If the younger daughter resisted the sexual abuse, Martin told the investigator, he would have to rape the girl.
The prosecutors said Martin told the investigator of a previous sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in Tacoma, Wash.
As part of the same case, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began investigating Martin when agents spotted child pornographic images posted on a Web site.
The prosecutors said the person who posted the images claimed the photos were of his daughter. The investigators later determined Martin posted those images.
ICE agents served a search warrant at Martin's home and seized a computer containing hundreds of child pornographic images, some depicting minors as victims of sadistic or masochistic abuse.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. The initiative brings together federal, state and local officials to locate, apprehend and prosecute people who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.