Day Care Worker Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child
Authorities have arrested a woman accused of producing child pornography while working at an area day care.
Investigation Leads Authorities to Wanted Sex Offender
According to San Antonio Express-News, Christina Cortez, 38, is accused of shooting sexually explicit pictures of children at the day care she worked at and distributing those photos online. Cortez worked at Coastal Bend Child Care facility in Corpus Christi. She allegedly then sent the photos to Matthew Harbin, 29, who is also charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
Both Cortez and Harbin pleaded guilty in a federal court Wednesday to sexual exploitation of a child. They face a maximum prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Harbin was discovered after the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations after she sent three photos of clothed children to an undercover detective in England from the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A month later, Harbin sent the same officer five more photos. The undercover officer determined that Harbin was living in South Texas and contacted the appropriate authorities.
Follow-Up Investigation Leads Authorities to Cortez
Cortez was discovered after a search warrant for Harbin's email address turned up explicit chats between the two from July 2014. Cortez used the email address “email@example.com” to send Harbin sexually explicit images of a girl who was about two or three years old.
In the conversations, both Cortez and Harbin indicated that they also wanted to engage in sexual activity with children. When Cortez's residence in Corpus Christi was searched, HSI special agents seized a Samsung smart phone that was later determined to have been used to photograph the children.
Cortez admitted to taking the photographs of the children at the day care facility where she worked, but not to producing the pornographic images. According to Cortex, her and Harbin had been communicating through Craigslist.
This is not Harbin's first offense. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he has previously had a warrant issued for his arrest in 2014 for receiving child pornography in Alabama and in 2009, he pleaded guilty to transmitting obscene material to a minor.