Sheriff’s Investigation Leads To Federal Pornography Charges
Sonora, CA — A Tuolumne County inmate and a Sonora man are now facing federal charges for child pornography. F.B.I agents took custody of 62-year-old Curtis Benjamin Hults from the Tuolumne County Jail. The Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office reports Hults was in custody awaiting preliminary hearing on two state charges of child molestation. They say detectives uncovered internet activities including child pornography and child sexual exploitation that supported federal prosecution. The state charges against Hults have been dropped to allow the federal case to move forward.
54-year-old Richard Larry Jones was also arrested by F.B.I. agents in August on federal charges relating to internet child pornography and sexual exploitation. In July, Jones was arrested by Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputies at his home on Cavaleri Road in East Sonora. ( Click here for an earlier story on his arrest.) He was also being prosecuted under state child pornography laws. Further investigation by detectives resulted in the discovery of large amounts of harmful matter and an internet network which allowed for federal prosecution. The state charges against Jones were also dropped to allow for possible stiffer federal penalties.
Tuolumne County District Attorney Michael Knowles says, “Where our highest amount of accountability was limited to approximately 10 years, the federal range runs anywhere from 40 to 60 years which is a significant difference.”