A New Jersey man pleaded guilty this week to interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.
Mohsin was joined in the announcement by James C. Harris, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations field offices in Michigan and Ohio.
Jose Ricardo Gomez, 39, of Manalapan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty on November 17, 2021, to one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor before United States Magistrate Judge Patricia Morris.
Gomez will be sentenced in February 2022.
According to court documents, in or about July and August 2020, Gomez used his phone and the internet to knowingly persuade, induce, entice and coerce a 13-year-old minor and a 14-year-old minor to engage in sexual activity for which he could be charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree under Michigan state law.
Gomez communicated with the minors via Snapchat and traveled to Michigan from New Jersey. He met them at a hotel in Houghton Lake, Michigan, where he sexually abused the two minors on several occasions during that time. He provided alcohol to the victims before the abuse.
Gomez also recorded numerous videos with his iPhone of the 13-year-old minor in various states of undress engaging in sexual acts. For the purpose of persuading the victim to engage in the sexual acts and for the purpose of producing the sexually explicit material, Gomez misrepresented his name, age, and residence.
Gomez saved these visual depictions to his Snapchat account’s memories folder.
Moreover, between May and August, 2020, Gomez, using Snapchat, distributed multiple videos and photographs depicting minor girls lasciviously exposing their genitalia to other Snapchat users.
Gomez also solicited and received from minor girls sexually explicit images of themselves or images lasciviously depicting their genitalia, and distributed some of these images back to the minor girls depicted in those images for the purpose of coercing them to continue to produce and send such images of themselves to Gomez.
Gomez threatened to post those images in public forums and to expose them to friends, relatives or classmates of the victims. The day after his arrest, Gomez, using the jail telephone system, directed another unknown individual to destroy and conceal evidence material to this investigation stored in Gomez’s online accounts.
Soon thereafter, an unknown individual deleted the images stored in Gomez’s iCloud account.
This case was investigated by agents of the Homeland Security Investigations and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department and is prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anca Pop.
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