Today F.B.I agents took custody of Curtis Benjamin Hults from the Tuolumne County Jail. Hults, (date of birth 11/23/1950) age 62 was in custody awaiting preliminary hearing on two charges of child molestation. Continuing investigation by Tuolumne County Sheriff's Detectives uncovered internet activities including child pornography and child sexual exploitation supporting Federal prosecution. Under state law the maximum penalty was approximately ten (10) years. Under Federal statutes the defendant faces fifteen (15) years minimum for each count resulting in conviction. The Federal charges, which include the same conduct covered by state statute, carry a much higher penalty.
"Those who exploit our children deserve the highest penalties available," states Michael L. Knowles, Tuolumne County District Attorney
The state charges against Hults have been dismissed and local prosecution suspended to facilitate and expedite Federal proceedings. In the unlikely event Federal prosecution was not completed, state charges could be re-filed.
In addition, on August 23, 2013, Richard Larry Jones (date of birth 09/04/1959) age 54, was arrested in Department 4 of the Tuolumne County Superior Court on Federal charges relating to internet child pornography and sexual exploitation. Jones, who resided on Cavaleri Road in Sonora, was being prosecuted under state child pornography laws carrying a maximum sentence of three (3) years. Continuing investigation by the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Detectives, which began with the Modesto Police Department, resulted in the discovery of large amounts of harmful matter and internet nexus supporting Federal prosecution. In that case, as in Hults, state charges based upon the same conduct were dismissed and prosecution suspended.