Ex-Hanford High coach gets 8 years in prison for child porn
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Hanford High PE teacher and coach is going to prison for the disturbing and graphic images federal investigators found on his home computer two years ago.
Eric Rodriguez will be spending just over eight years in prison for the crimes. His family cried when he was handcuffed and taken away by federal investigators.
Rodriguez made a very brief statement. In it, he did not admit any crimes or apologize. But his attorney said he is remorseful and feels he can be reformed.
Federal investigators who picked apart the home computer of Eric Rodriguez found nearly 10 hours of pornographic videos.
His attorney told the court Rodriguez initially liked only adult pornography but then became interested in child porn.
Monday Rodriguez was sentenced to 97 months in prison for the crimes.
Just before he heard his punishment, he told the judge "people make mistakes and we learn."
Mike Prado is the resident agent in charge for the US Department of Homeland Security. He says the sentence is fair, even though it's below the guideline range.
"97 months is a significant sentence," Prado said. "I think it sends a message to the community that this type of activity will not be tolerated."
Federal agents were especially concerned with Rodriguez because of his job as a high school teacher and coach. Plus some of the videos investigators found were titled "sex with teacher" and "sex in the classroom."
When Rodriguez was sentenced the judge told the court "he had a promising career that's obviously in shambles."
Rodriguez's attorney says no matter how many years his client is in prison, his life will always be changed. He must register as a sex offender when he's released, and has lost his home and profession.
Prado says some of the material investigators found involved children as young as four years old being sexually abused.
"In this day and age with high speed internet and the ability to download massive amounts of data, we often see videos more often than images and we're talking unfortunately, very heinous videos," Prado said.
Investigators did not find any evidence Rodriguez did anything inappropriate with any students or children he came into contact with.
Since he was convicted on federal charges, he will spend at least 85 percent of his sentence in prison.
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