Indianapolis Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Three Children
INDIANAPOLIS – Epigmenio Vazquez Gatica, 35, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a child. Gatica also admitted to the sexual exploitation of two other children.
In February 2021, a child disclosed that Gatica had been laying on the bathroom floor and filming the child while the child showered. This led to an investigation of Gatica. Law enforcement officers obtained a warrant to search his cellular telephone and were able to access the data. Investigators recovered multiple videos of that child, along with videos of two other children, including videos of the children naked and partially naked while showering or using the bathroom. The three victims include a toddler and a six-year-old, and at times Gatica had care, custody, or supervisory control over each of them. All three children appear to have been unaware they were being recorded. Investigators also recovered sexual exploitation images that Gatica took of one of the children from Gatica’s Google Drive account.
“Predators who are sexually interested in our children abuse our trust and our technology to satisfy their depraved desires,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “We are committed to supporting victims and obtaining the electronic evidence necessary to hold these criminals accountable. The sentence imposed today should put offenders on notice that we will work tirelessly to ensure that criminals who exploit are children are sent to prison where they belong.”
“This sentence should send a warning that there are serious consequences that await those who are engaged in any way with child sexual abuse material,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “Protecting our children from predators is a priority of the FBI and we will continue to work diligently to ensure predators feel the full weight of the law.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young. As part of the sentence, Judge Young also ordered that the defendant be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years following his release from federal prison and must pay $9,000 in restitution to each of the three minor victims.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum who prosecuted this case.
This case was 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
In fiscal year 2019, when this case was prosecuted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana prosecuted the second most cases involving sexual exploitation of a child in the country.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn, ESQ, LMSW: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.