LOS ANGELES — A South El Monte man whose ongoing videotaped sexual abuse of a 5-year-old girl came to light when he applied to be a California Highway Patrol officer received a 30-year prison sentence Wednesday, authorities said.
Christian Clint Hernandez, 31, received the sentence from U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II after pleading guilty to a 2009 federal charge of production of child pornography, U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
In addition to the sentence — the maximum length allowed by law — Hernandez was also ordered to pay more than $71,000 for counseling for his young victim until she turns 18, officials said. Once released from prison, Hernandez will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
Hernandez also faces child molestation charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, and is accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy in addition to the 5-year-old girl.
Hernandez was in a relationship with a relative of the girl, according to court documents. It is believed he molested the girl for more than a year.
In the federal case, prosecutors argued that Hernandez’s behavior warranted the maximum sentence, according to court documents.
They said Hernandez “possessed an extensive collection of child pornography depicting minors being raped by adult men” and “has no shame regarding his conduct, instead, he bragged about his conduct on a job application to the CHP.”
Hernandez filled out an application to become a CHP officer on Jan. 6, 2009. Although he denied ever molesting a child on the CHP application, he did incriminate himself, according to court documents.
“Despite lying about the true nature of his conduct, defendant did admit to having looked at ‘photos of someone under the age of 18 on the Internet about a month ago,'” according to court filings. “In that same application, defendant admitted to having touched a dog’s penis, frequenting nudist beaches, and watching a neighbor in a covert manner.”
Once officials saw Hernandez’s written admission regarding viewing child pornography, authorities launched an investigation, with the help of the FBI, and searched the South El Monte home where Hernandez had been living, Mrozek said.
“Investigators found a collection of child pornography on Hernandez’s computer, including photos depicting Hernandez molesting a girl in the bedroom of the house,” he added.
“As he was being arrested, he asked the officer who was arresting him if he should re-apply to be a CHP officer,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens said.
Morton-Owens said it was still hard for her to understand Hernandez’s behavior.
“It’s very difficult to get inside most of these people’s heads,” she said. “He didn’t really understand that what he’d done was wrong.”
Now that his federal case is completed, Hernandez faces state charges of seven counts of child molestation with regard to the two alleged victims, according to a felony complaint filed against him in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Hernandez was expected to be transferred into state custody to face those charges.
If convicted as charged in that court, he could be sentenced to additional prison time, either concurrently or consecutively, Morton-Owens said.
Hernandez was also designated a “sexually violent predator,” she added, creating the possibility for him to be institutionalized once completing his prison term.
“Somebody that’s that sexually attracted to children does deserve to be put away for the bulk of his sexually active life,” Morton-Owens said.