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7 men on film gang-raping toddlers at popular Texas mall, posting videos to dark web: FBI
YouTube Fox 26 Houston Video Screenshot

7 men on film gang-raping toddlers at popular Texas mall, posting videos to dark web: FBI

The federal government has accused seven men of gang-raping two toddlers, according to police. The child sex crimes were filmed at various locations – including at a popular Texas mall – and posted online, according to the FBI.

Texas police arrested 29-year-old Arthur Hector Fernandez last month, and he is currently in federal custody. The suspect was charged with 14 criminal complaints – including the sexual exploitation of children – in federal court in Houston, Texas.

Fernandez is the only suspect charged in the case thus far. There are reportedly four videos of child sex abuse in the case.

Fernandez reportedly worked at a kiosk at the Galleria Mall in Houston. He was friendly with two women who also worked at the mall and had watched their children when they worked, according to the FBI.

The criminal complaint notes that the person filming the graphic videos, along with one or two other men, were seen in the four videos abusing two different toddlers – both 2 to 3 years old.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, "At least seven people could be seen abusing the children or heard talking in the videos, according to court documents."

The alleged sexual assaults of children took place in different locations, including bathrooms at the Galleria Mall.

KRIV reported that FBI agents launched an investigation after they were tipped off on the disturbing videos by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation in early December. The four videos were allegedly available in an "invitation-only forum" on the dark web.

The FBI reportedly utilized "an open-source image repository" to identify one of the young children and discovered a match on social media. A relative of the minor under the age of 3 recognized the bracelets that Fernandez was wearing, according to the complaint. The relative of the alleged victim also said Fernandez would often wear white Converse All-Stars – which were reportedly seen in the video.

The FBI executed a search warrant at the home of Fernandez, seizing electronic devices and three pairs of sneakers believed to have been seen in the videos.

The FBI found the second alleged victim after law enforcement scoured Fernandez's Instagram account, states the complaint filed in the Southern District of Texas on Dec. 14. The relative of the alleged victim also worked at the mall and purportedly told investigators that Fernandez took her child trick-or-treating on Halloween.

"The evidence in this case is overwhelming and revolting," the judge wrote in a court order. "I cannot allow [him] to abuse any other minors, and there are no conditions or combination of conditions that can alleviate a danger to the community. This is not a close call."

FBI agent Torrence White did not comment directly on the case but told KTRK-TV, "The perpetrators of these crimes are family members, teachers, and members of the community. Oftentimes folks are looking for the monster in the white van, but often it's the person you know."

The public defender listed as Fernandez's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA Today.

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →