SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Michael Anaya-Otero, 23, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 12 years and six months, for traveling interstate with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and enticement of a minor, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, in April 2016 and again in January 2017, Anaya-Otero traveled to Placer County in order to engage in sexual conduct with a seventh grader. Anaya flew to Sacramento from New Jersey, picked the victim up from her middle school, and took her to a nearby hotel where he had sexual intercourse with her. Anaya-Otero repeated the trip several months later and again engaged in sexual activity with the same victim. Anaya kept a picture of the sexual contact on his cell phone.
Separately, in June 2017, Anaya-Otero had an online relationship over Snapchat and Instagram with a second juvenile victim, age 14, in El Dorado County. Anaya requested sexually explicit images from this juvenile victim and also kept at least one image from this victim on his cellphone.
“This predator carefully planned his contacts with victims and earned their trust. He traveled across the country, not once but twice,” stated U.S. Attorney Scott. “Anaya’s criminal conduct was only interrupted when he was arrested. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of his offenses, affords adequate deterrence and protects the public from further crimes by this defendant. Our office is committed to protecting our children and stopping this type of predatory conduct.”
Anaya-Otero was detained in 2018 when he attempted to enter Canada by car. He stated to the Canadian border agent that he was traveling to Canada to meet a 15-year-old girl he had previously contacted on social media. Anaya-Otero was denied entry into Canada, and images of child pornography on Anaya-Otero’s phone were discovered when he was returned to the United States.
This case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey B. Hemesath prosecuted the case.
“Homeland Security Investigations does not allow sexual predators, who commit deviant crimes against children, to go unfettered. HSI Agents are willing to pursue criminals, no matter where they try to hide,” said HSI San Francisco’s Special Agent in Charge Tatum King. “This important sentencing highlights the strong consequences brought to bear for criminal behavior towards minors.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet safety education.
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