Dark Web Videos Show 7 Men Raping Toddlers at Galleria Mall in Houston, FBI Says. Only one man Arrested
A Texas man is in federal custody after the FBI linked him to videos from the dark web depicting group sexual assault on toddlers in a mall.
Arthur Hector Fernandez, 29, was arrested Dec. 18, 2023 in Kingwood, TX as the result of a Dec. 14 criminal complaint filed in federal court in Houston, records show.
According to the complaint, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was contacted by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation earlier in December. The organization shared with the FBI four videos posted on an invitation-only forum on the dark web.
In the court documents, it alleges that Fernandez would bring the child into a bathroom, reportedly assault them, and take videos. In those videos, upwards of seven people could be heard making grotesque comments and could be seen assaulting the child, though only Fernandez is charged.
According to the report, one of the videos shows a male child lying on a changing table in a restroom stall while an unidentified man assaults him and Fernandez records the act with his phone.
Fernandez is among the perpetrators in at least two of the videos, authorities say.
The FBI were able to identify one of the children, less than 3 years old, through social media. A relative of the child was presented with a censored image of the video and recognized the bracelets the defendant in the video was wearing as belonging to Fernandez, according to the complaint. The two became friends after working at nearby stores at the Galleria Mall in Houston, and he would watch the child for her occasionally while she worked, she told the FBi
The complaint details the graphic videos, in which the video's creator and one or two other males present sexually abuse two different children, both aged 2 to 3 years old.
The ACCCE shared the videos as they contained two common identifiers: two silver bracelets and white Converse All-Star shoes.