Woman Arrested in Connection With Child Porn Case - NBC 7 San Diego

Woman Arrested in Connection With Child Porn Case

Warrants were issued Thursday in the case, believed to have occurred in LA 11 years ago.



    Child Porn Investigation Points to San Fernando Valley

    A phone book and a calendar lead investigators to believe pictures of a couple accused of producing and distributing child pornography were taken in the San Fernando Valley, possibly Encino. But despite clear photographs of the pair, investigators say they don't know who they are, and are asking for the public's help. Lolita Lopez reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2013. (Published Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013)

    A woman was arrested Thursday night in the San Fernando Valley in connection with a child-sex abuse case that occurred 11 years ago in Los Angeles, according to LAPD Mission Division officials.

    Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was arrested in connection with the case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. She was expected to appear in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles on Friday.

    Earlier Thursday, investigators discussed the case during a news conference regarding "Operation Sunflower" -- an enforcement effort directed at rescuing child abuse victims.

    The operation, launched in November, has accounted for the arrest of 245 people in the United States and abroad, according to ICE. The enforcement initiative's goal is to identify child abusers and rescue their victims, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

    Operation Sunflower concluded as agents in Los Angeles continue efforts to identify two adults sought in connection with a child pornography and sex assault case they said occurred 11 years ago, possibly in the San Fernando Valley.

    Investigators credit a calendar from a religious store in Encino and a local phone book -- both clear in the background of more than 40 photos -- as evidence that a then-13-year-old girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted and filmed in the San Fernando Valley.

    The religious store that sold the calendar is not connected to the accused couple, investigators said.

    Agents have not confirmed the identities of a man and woman seen in photographs depicting the sexual assault of a girl, according to ICE agents.

    The images were "widely distributed online," Morton said at Thursday's news conference.

    The subjects are identified as John Doe and Jane Doe in images released Thursday. The male subject's face is obscured in the photos, but agents said they hope someone might recognize the female (pictured, right).

    Several of the woman's tattoos are visible in the photographs. They include a black tattooo on her right hip resembling a butterfly; a tattoo on her right shoulder blade depicting the outline of a curled up cat; a tattoo with words across the top of her left wrist; and a tattoo of unknown design on the upper portion of her left breast, according to ICE.

    The woman also has a piercing above her left eye in the pictures obtained by investigators.

    The sexual abuse images were discovered by Chicago ICE agents in 2007. Investigators were looking into an unrelated child sex-crime ring and referred the case to agents in Los Angeles.

    Agents are not sure whether the abusers currently live in Los Angeles, Morton added.

    "The reality is, every time a photo or a video of an innocent child being sexually exploited is viewed, that victim is violated again," said Claude Arnold, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles.

    A criminal complaint against the two was filed Monday.

    Operation Sunflower is named for the first case conducted under ICE's Victim Identification Program. Danish authorities shared material with U.S. authorities that led to the arrest of a 16-year-old who was planning to sexually assault an 11-year-old girl.

    One of the images depicted a yellow road sign visible from the window of a moving vehicle. The sign -- a sunflower graphic unique to Kansas roadways -- resulted in a large-scale search along the state's highways.

    About two weeks after U.S. authorities received the image, the girl was rescued, according to ICE.

    Of the 123 children identified or rescued from abusers in Operation Sunflower, 44 children were with their abusers at the time of the rescue, Morton said. Five rescued children were 2 or 3 years old.

    Call 1-866-347-2423 with information about the LA case or visit the ICE tips form.