THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Kingsville Martial Arts Studio Owner Indicted For Raping Child In Case Prosecuted By Abbott's Office

AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Criminal Law Enforcement Division today obtained indictments against the owner of a martial arts studio in Kingsville who is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old female student. A Jim Wells County grand jury returned indictments against Melchor Hawkins, 63, on four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of sexual performance by a child.

Attorney General Abbott also applauded an 87-month federal prison sentence today against Luis Saul Sandoval, an El Paso highway construction worker, for providing child pornography through a file-sharing program on the Internet. Cyber Crimes Unit officers arrested Sandoval last year and investigated the case, which was prosecuted in the U.S. District Court in El Paso by the office of Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

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Luis Sandoval
Luis Sandoval

Child sex crimes not only victimize young Texans, but rob them of their innocence, security and hope, Attorney General Abbott said. My office will aggressively prosecute the case against Melchor Hawkins to see that justice is done for this precious girl, and I appreciate the cooperation of the Jim Wells County District Attorney and the Orange Grove Police Department in this case. I also am gratified that Luis Sandoval was appropriately punished for his crimes and I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its work in that case.

Hawkins was arrested on Dec. 22, 2005, by officers with the Orange Grove Police Department and the Texas Rangers, after the girl reported he sexually assaulted her at his martial arts studio. The police department subsequently searched Hawkins’ Orange Grove residence and his studio. The Attorney General agreed to prosecute the case at Jim Wells County District Attorney Joe Frank Garza’s request. Hawkins is currently in Jim Wells County Jail.

Cyber Crimes officers arrested Sandoval, 41, on June 10, 2005, and conducted an investigation that revealed he had made more than 40 child pornography files available through the file-sharing program. On Nov. 1, 2005, Sandoval pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Cracking down on sexual predators is a top priority of Attorney General Abbott’s administration. His office has obtained convictions against 33 men on child pornography charges since Attorney General Abbott took office in December 2002.

The Cyber Crimes Unit, which also tracks down individuals who use the Internet to solicit meetings with children for sex, has arrested 71 of these predators since Abbott took office in December 2002. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested 257 of these parolees. The Fugitive Unit has also arrested 38 unregistered sex offenders and another 18 men and women in other operations. For more information, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.