4 LA-area men facing child exploitation charges

Four Southland men are facing federal charges of child sexual exploitation alleging the victimization of minors, officials announced Tuesday.

In cases filed in Los Angeles in recent weeks, the defendants were accused of exploiting children in person and on the Internet.

"Protecting our children from sexual exploitation is some of the most important work my office does," U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement.

"For years, we have vigorously prosecuted child sexual predators, and we have only increased those efforts in recent times. To those who would seek to victimize our youth, let me be clear: We will use every tool in our arsenal to bring you to justice and thereby stop you from causing further irreparable harm to others."

The defendants facing charges in Los Angeles federal court are:

-- Ivan Lozano, 36, of Long Beach, who was charged with enticing a minor victim to commit sexual acts and possession of child pornography. Over the course of nearly two years, starting when the victim was 14, Lozano allegedly encouraged and enticed a girl living in Tanzania to repeatedly send him videos and photos of a sexual nature using the WhatsApp social media application. In October 2021, according to the complaint affidavit, Lozano traveled to Tanzania for the purpose of having sex with the girl, which he recorded on video. Lozano is currently a fugitive being sought by the FBI;

Ivan Lozano / US Attorney's Office

-- Dustan David Sheehan, 45, of Hollywood, who surrendered Friday after being named in a criminal complaint that accuses him of distributing child pornography and possession of and access with intent to view child pornography. In an August 2020 conversation with an undercover agent on the Kik internet messaging platform, Sheehan allegedly discussed his desire to meet and sexually abuse the undercover's fictitious 9-year-old daughter. Sheehan was also accused of sharing sexually explicit images with the undercover agent. During a subsequent search of Sheehan's residence, FBI investigators identified about 2,919 child sexual abuse images and 21 similar videos on Sheehan's digital devices, prosecutors say. During his initial court appearance Friday, Sheehan was released on a $100,000 bond and was ordered to reside at a residential rehabilitation center;

-- Nathan Kicyla, 39, of Van Nuys, was accused of coercing a 10-year- old girl he encountered online to engage in sexually explicit conduct. An indictment charges Kicyla with sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction, enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and commission of a felony offense involving a minor. If convicted, he would face a mandatory minimum of 35 years in federal prison. He is currently in federal custody on a supervised release violation stemming from a 2007 conviction of sexually exploitation of minors in the Eastern District of California; and

-- Ian Nathanial Johnson, 36, of Santa Clarita, was arrested Friday after prosecutors filed a criminal complaint charging him with distribution and possession of child pornography. The investigation into Johnson was launched after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received information that Johnson had uploaded child pornography to a Dropbox account, prosecutors said. During a search, agents seized Johnson's digital devices and discovered over 200 images of child pornography and chats on Telegram, several of which included images of prepubescent children and children in bondage, the affidavit states. Johnson is scheduled to make his initial appearance on Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court.

In a recently concluded case, Francisco Anthony Dorame, 41, of Echo Park, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday for using an online messenger app last year to attempt to sexually traffic two children -- ages 7 and 9 -- and for distributing sexually explicit images of children. Dorame was also sentenced to a lifetime period of supervised release and ordered to pay $33,000 in restitution to 11 victims. Dorame pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sex trafficking of a child under 14 years old and one count of distribution of child pornography.

In February, two men who were found guilty by a jury of receiving and possessing videos of sexual assaults of severely disabled children were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Miguel Bocardo, 23, of Baldwin Park, was sentenced by a federal judge in Santa Ana to 18 years in federal prison. Cyr Dino Banguguilan, 36, of Azusa, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Their co-defendant -- Steve Rodriguez, 38, of Pomona -- was accused of systematically raping at least three disabled children for years while working as a certified nursing assistant at a group home facility. Rodriguez filmed these repeated attacks and sent some of these child pornography films to others, including Bocardo and Banguguilan, according to prosecutors.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to eight child exploitation offenses and in January was sentenced to life in federal prison.