Galveston man gets life in prison for child pornography; Crimes occurred over six year span in Jefferson County

Published 8:01 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BEAUMONT — A Galveston man was sentenced to life in federal prison on a charge of production of child pornography.

Jose Stephen Gracia, 45, pleaded guilty to the charge on July 27, 2015 and the sentence was handed down on Wednesday by the U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Crone.

Alan Jackson, criminal division chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas, said the investigation was initiated by a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in which an individual was uploading suspected child pornography onto the Internet.

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The e-mail account led investigators to a mobile device that was traced back to Gracia at which time officials learned Gracia was a registered sex offender with multiple prior convictions against children.

The abuse, according to court documents, started around Nov. 1, 2008 to around Aug. 31, 2014.

“The search turned up an SD memory card hidden in a locked safe that included videos of child pornography,” Jackson said. The videos, he added were made at a residence in Jefferson County. Jackson could not specify which city in the county the abuse occurred.

The normal penalty for the charge maxes out at 30 years but due to Gracia’s previous convictions the charge was enhanced.

The three child victims were ages 2, 3 and 6 at the time the abuse began. The children were known to him.

Jackson hopes Gracia’s arrest and life sentence sends a message that crimes such as these will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“And, if you see something out of place or hear something out of place, report it,” he said.

The arrest and sentencing is the tip of the iceberg in fighting this type of crime as digital media has made it easier to get and easier to share images such as these.

Typically, in cases such as this, the victims are someone who either knows the children through friends or family and in some cases, through school.

“This is a wild guess, but I’d say 90 percent of the victims are someone the defendant has easy access to,” he said.

Social services have been made available to the young victims, he added.

Gracia declined to make a comment during sentencing, according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Liz Foshee.

Foshee said child pornography is a growing problem they are seeing more and more of.

Keeping an eye on children with cell phones and social media accounts is one way to help, as well as knowing what sites they visit and make sure they do not give personal information out.

Investigation of the case spanned several different jurisdictions including the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Galveston Police Department, Pearland Police Department and the Internet Crimes against Children.


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