NEW HAVEN, CT — Leonard C. Boyle, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, special agent in charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that Hector Torres, 32, of Monroe, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with child exploitation offenses related to his alleged sexual abuse of three minor girls.
Boyle stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.
Following his arrest, Torres appeared via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Dave Vatti and is detained.
As alleged in the criminal complaint, Torres used Snapchat, FaceTime and text messaging to communicate with three minor girls, ages 11 and 12, to persuade, induce, entice or coerce them to send him naked pictures of themselves and to engage in sexual activity with him, according to the news release.
On multiple occasions in February 2021, Torres picked up the girls in his car and brought them to a shopping plaza parking lot in Hartford, where they each engaged in sexual activity with Torres at his direction, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, adding Torres promised to give the girls money, sneakers, vaping supplies and/or food if they sent him photos of their bodies and/or engaged in sex acts with him.
In March 2021, investigators reviewed at least three videos of Torres’s sexual abuse of the girls, one of which shows the right side of his face as well as distinctive tattoos on his hands, according to the news release.
The complaint charges Torres with coercion and enticement of minors to engage in sexual activity, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and with production of child pornography, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.
Boyle said investigators are seeking to identify additional victims and encouraged victims, witnesses and anyone with helpful information to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
This matter is being investigated by the FBI, the Monroe Police Department, the Hartford Police Department and the Connecticut Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel M. Krull through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
For information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report cases of child exploitation, visit www.cybertipline.com.