Rolando E. Hernandez was sentenced to six years in prison on April 14 after a jury found him guilty of online solicitation of a minor.
The 24-year-old Cypress resident went to the home of whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl with the intent to have sexual contact or intercourse with her in May 2015.
According to Assistant District Attorney Michael Hartman, Detective Shannon Taylor with the Katy ISD Police Department, along with other state and federal peace officers working with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, were proactively investigating several well-known social media sites for online predators.
Over a three-day period, Taylor and the ICAC team chatted with individuals online – some of whom sought sexual relationships with children. During that time, FBI Special Agent Robert Guerra made contact with Hernandez, while posing as a 15-year-old girl from Katy.
Hernandez reportedly agreed to meet with this persona for sex. The defendant then drove from his home in Cypress to meet “Katie” around midnight at a Katy residence, where he was subsequently arrested. Law enforcement discovered two condoms in his wallet that he stated online that he would bring.
After the jury convicted Hernandez, the defense argued during punishment that the defendant had never been arrested for anything ever before. But lead prosecutor Michael Hartman called Hernandez an opportunistic predator that showed no remorse for his actions. Hartman asked the jury to “come back with a number that would give this defendant enough time to get treatment and be rehabilitated, and long enough to protect the children in this community.”
Hernandez was tried in the 268th District Court before Presiding Judge Brady Elliott. Online solicitation of a minor in this case is a second-degree felony punishable by 2–20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Hernandez was eligible to receive probation, but now must serve one-fourth of his six-year sentence before he can be considered for parole.
Assistant District Attorneys Hartman and Alison Gottlieb prosecuted the case. Attorney William Thursland represented the defendant.