MULESHOE, Texas (Press Release) — The following is a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
A federal jury has convicted a Muleshoe, Texas man of child pornography crimes, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
After approximately forty minutes of deliberation, a federal jury on Tuesday found 25-year-old Felipe Mata-Benavidez guilty of production of child pornography.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Mata-Benavidez attempted to sexually assault an 11-year-old relative at her home in Muleshoe. During the assault, the victim’s mother walked in on Mr. Mata-Benavidez attempting to have sexual intercourse with minor.
The young girl’s mother stopped the assault and fled the residence with her daughter. A short time later, a concerned neighbor notified law enforcement after hearing about the incident.
The Muleshoe Police Department interviewed Mr. Mata-Benavidez after receiving a report that he had attempted to sexually assaulted the 11-year-old. During an interview Mr. Mata-Benavidez, he showed detectives his cell phone, which contained his messages with the young girl.
In those messages, Mr. Mata-Benavidez told the 11-year-old to send him explicit photographs of herself. When she refused, Mr. Mata-Benavidez bullied the girl until she conceded, texting Mr. Mata-Benavidez a lewd and lascivious image. He then commented saying the girl was beautiful and telling the her not to “share with anybody else… because it’s mine.” Mr. Mata-Benavidez then continued to ask for the 11-year-old to send him more explicit images.
Mr. Mata-Benavidez now faces up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for July 8, 2021.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Lubbock Resident Agency, the Muleshoe Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Callie Woolam and Matthew McLeod prosecuted the case. U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix presided over the trial.