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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Melbourne Man Sentenced To 20 Years On Federal Child Pornography Charges

Orlando, Florida - U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. today sentenced Jose Manuel Rivera, Jr. (35, Melbourne) to the statutory maximum of 20 years in federal prison for receipt of child pornography. The court also ordered Rivera to serve a 25-year term of supervised release following his release from prison, and to forfeit the computer equipment he used to commit the offense. Rivera pleaded guilty on February 22, 2013.

According to court documents, Rivera downloaded and collected over a dozen movies depicting the sexual exploitation and abuse of prepubescent children, some as young as three years old. Rivera also admitted to molesting a toddler on two separate occasions when the child had previously lived in his family's home. “Homeland Security Investigations special agents identified Rivera as a child predator during Operation Sunflower, a nationwide operation focused on identifying sexual predators and rescuing victims,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. “As a result of our agents’ investigative work, Rivera can no longer prey on innocent children. He will spend the next two decades behind bars.”

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph M. Schuster.

Homeland Security Investigations launched Operation Sunflower in November 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary in which the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign led to the rescue of an 11-year-old girl in Kansas. The operation identified 123 victims of child exploitation. Of that number, 44 were directly rescued from their abusers and 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.

It is another case 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 Attorney's Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "other resources."

Updated January 26, 2015