A Texas couple who admitted last year to filming themselves sexually abusing dozens of young children was sentenced Wednesday to 60 years in federal prison.
Christopher Almaguer, 27, his wife, Sarah Rashelle Almaguer, 27, pleaded guilty in October to sexual exploitation of children and production of child pornography. According to the Waco Tribune, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright was visibly emotional when handing down the maximum sentence.
“I truly have no way of understanding how a person can do what you did to those children,” Albright said Wednesday.
“It truly is beyond comprehension…Those children you injured will never recover.”
Federal authorities became involved in February 2018, after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted them regarding a tip they received via Facebook. Citing the criminal complaint, KWTX reported that the social media platform had flagged an account for apparently uploading child pornography.
Days later, attorney general’s office agents executed a search warrant at the Almaguers’ Killeen home. The couple had five children at their home when authorities carried out the search warrant, according to the news station.
Federal agents seized Sarah’s cell phone and discovered multiple illicit footages in the device’s ‘Video’ folder. Upon her arrest, Sarah said the flagged Facebook account was hers but she had given access to her brother-in-law.
“(Sarah) Almaguer stated that she has had a long term, secret, sexual relationship with…Perez that involved multiple productions and distributions of child pornography with children as young as six-months-old,” the complaint stated.
CNN reported that prosecutors believed the Almaguers’ victims ranged in age from 8 months to 14 years old.
“The youngest victim was an infant, and the nature of the abuse was unimaginable. They also made videos of the children’s torture and shared them. These are two of the most wicked criminals in Texas history,” U.S. Attorney John Bash said in a statement.
Christopher’s brother, Paul Perez Jr., 25, was sentenced to 20 years, having pleaded guilty to receiving images and footage depicting child pornography. In one of the videos, Perez had requested his brother to sexually abuse a 5-year-old girl while instructing her to say, “Hi, Paul,” according to the Waco Tribune.
“To me, this is the most significant case we’ve prosecuted since I became U.S. Attorney,” Bash said.
“The Almaguers were serial child abusers. They abused 25 children that we know about—children from the neighborhood, children from church, children they babysat, children who just came over to play with their five children.”
In addition to prison, all three defendants were ordered to $10,000 to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Fund. Upon completing their sentences, they will be on federal supervised release for the rest of their lives.
[Featured image: Sarah Almaguer, Christopher Almaguer/Texas State Attorney’s Office]