Man gets 17.5 years for filming his sexual assault of 12-year-old Berrien County child

Lisa Kennedy

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- The United States District Attorney's Office announced on Wednesday that 26-year-old Eduardo G. Torres of Waukegan, Illinois was sentenced to 210 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for sexually exploiting a child.

“As the sexual exploitation of children online continues to rise, my office is committed to protecting children and bringing sex offenders to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “The devices that nearly every child and teenager now carry leave kids vulnerable to criminals down the street, across state lines, and around the world. I strongly urge parents, guardians, and loved ones to educate their kids about online dangers, stay aware of their social media activities, and create a trusting relationship where kids are willing to share if something goes wrong.”

Authorities say in April 2023, Torres filmed himself sexually assaulting a 12-year-old child after initially meeting them online, communicating with them through Snapchat, and then traveling to Berrien Springs to meet them in person.

After assaulting the child, he took them across state lines, back to his residence in Illinois.

Torres originally pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a child on December 18, 2023.

“Mr. Torres engaged in an egregiously inappropriate relationship with a minor, exploiting and sexually assaulting the young victim. Investigating those who prey on our children is a top priority for the FBI,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “I commend the FBI's Benton Harbor Safe Streets Task Force for their dedicated efforts in this case and their relentless pursuit of justice for our communities' children.”

The FBI says parents and caregivers are urged to take steps to protect their children and teenagers from online predators and that they most often see crimes against children begin when an adult either forges a relationship with a young victim online and later arranges to meet and abuse the child; or coerces a child into producing sexually explicit images or videos through manipulation, gifts, or threats.

“The Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Department appreciates the work done on this case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan along with the assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” said Police Chief Paul Toliver. “Working together with these agencies was instrumental in quickly bringing a child predator to justice and returning a child home to her family.”

The FBI offers the following advice for parents to protect their children from online predators:

  • Have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior.
  • Educate yourself about the websites, software, games, and apps that your children use.
  • Check their social media and gaming profiles and posts. Have conversations about what is appropriate to say or share.
  • Explain to your kids that once images or comments are posted online, they can be shared with anyone and never truly disappear.
  • Make sure your kids use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.
  • Tell your children to be extremely wary when communicating with anyone online who they do not know in real life.
  • Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names and to create strong passwords.
  • Make it a rule with your kids that they can't arrange to meet up with someone they met online without your knowledge and supervision.

Report any inappropriate contact between an adult and your child to law enforcement immediately. Notify the site they were using, too. In addition to contacting local law enforcement, parents, victims, and others can report these crimes to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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