Trio accused of luring boys away from parks to make child porn

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Three men were arrested in connection to a three-year child exploitation and human sex trafficking ring in Riverside County. The suspects are accused of luring boys away from parks to make child porn.

Three men have been arrested in connection to a three-year child exploitation and human sex trafficking ring in Riverside County.

John David Yoder, 43, of Desert Hot Springs, Erick Alan Monsivais, 29, of Los Angeles, and William Clyde Thompson, 54, of Las Vegas are accused of luring boys away from parks to make child pornography. The three suspects were each charged with multiple sex-related felonies.

"These types of crimes shock the conscious of our community," said Robert Goetsh, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations unit.

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office says it was the arrest of Thompson -- a prolific child pornographer on the run for two years -- that led to the other two men.

Thompson was under house arrest in September 2013 when he allegedly tore off his GPS tracking bracelet and went on the lam. He was apprehended in Needles on Jan. 27.

"During his arrest, he had requested to contact two other individuals," said Riverside County sheriff's Investigator Andy Liu.

Yoder and Monsivais were interviewed and ultimately arrested.

Investigators with the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Task Force (S.A.F.E.) say Yoder, a father to two adopted boys, was also a special education teacher with the Palm Springs Unified School District. The specific school at which he worked was not disclosed.

PSUSD Assistant Superintendent Mauricio Arellano said Yoder has been suspended without pay and will remain in that status until his criminal case is resolved.

According to county Department of Public Social Services Director Susan von Zabern, the agency is "cooperating fully" with the investigation into Yoder and his co-defendants. It was not disclosed whether his children were allegedly victimized.

"[Yoder] would take Thompson to meet children at local parks and introduce them to potential fake modeling contracts with Thompson being the photographer," Liu said.

Authorities say ultimately the children were forced into posing for sexually explicit photos and sexually assaulted. The crimes took place in and around parks in Desert Hot Springs where Monsivais is accused of molesting multiple victims.

Yoder was charged with human trafficking of a minor, conspiracy, lewd acts on a child under 14 and aiding a felon to avoid arrest. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Indio Jail. If convicted, he faces 35 years to life behind bars.

Monsivais was charged with four counts of oral copulation of a child under 10, three counts of aggravated assault on a minor with force, and one count each of human trafficking and lewd acts on a child with force. He's being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta. If convicted, he faces 167 years to life in prison.

Thompson, who is in federal custody in Las Vegas, was charged with sodomy of a child, oral copulation of a minor, sexual assault of a child under 14, lewd acts on a child under 14, procurement of a child under 16 for lewd acts, human trafficking of a minor, use of a child for prohibited acts, distribution of child porn and conspiracy to create child porn. If convicted, he faces 85 years to life in prison.

Along with the state charges, the defendants are all under federal indictment based on a grand jury inquiry completed last month that culminated in charges of sexual exploitation of a child, conspiracy to produce child porn and conspiracy to distribute child porn.

Yoder and Monsivais are set to appear in court Thursday. An arraignment date for Thompson has not yet been set.

The investigation is ongoing. Investigators believe there may be additional victims.

"If you're a parent and you've had your kids in Desert Hot Springs and you think you may have had contact with these three individuals we would ask for your help," said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin.

Anyone with information or who may have been victimized by these suspects was urged to call the S.A.F.E Task Force at (866) 723-3595.

CNS contributed to this report.


Related Topics:
child pornographyarrestsex crimeschild sex assaultHuman Traffickingriverside countyu.s. & worldCalifornia
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