INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the sexual exploitation of three children.
In February 2021, a child disclosed that Epigmenio Vazquez Gatica, 35, of Indy, laid on the bathroom floor and filmed them while they were showering. This information then led to an investigation in which law enforcement officers (IMPD) obtained a search warrant for Gatica’s cellphone.
Investigators recovered multiple videos of that child, along with videos of two other children. The videos showed the children naked and partially naked while showering or using the bathroom.
According to the probable cause affidavit, a person told IMPD that they found close-up videos of a 16-year-old and 7-year-old female family members’ vaginal areas. Police said after reviewing the videos, the minor children appeared to be unaware they were being recorded by Gatica.
Gatica said that it was a mistake and he regretted it, but, he was curious as to what they were doing.
He also admitted to recording a third minor, a toddler boy. All three minors were under Gatica’s care, custody, or supervisory control. Investigators also found sexual exploitation images that were taken of the toddler in Gatica’s Google Drive account.
The images recovered from the Google Drive account included the following:
- Three full body images of toddler with his penis exposed
- Four close-up images of toddler’s penis
- Close-up image of toddler’s penis with an index finger on the penis
“Predators who are sexually interested in our children abuse our trust and our technology to satisfy their depraved desires,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
“We are committed to supporting victims and obtaining the electronic evidence necessary to hold these criminals accountable. The sentence imposed today should put offenders on notice that we will work tirelessly to ensure that criminals who exploit are children are sent to prison where they belong.”
The victim impact statements read as follows:
“The last 4 years… there were nights I was afraid to sleep because I thought he would do something to me.”
“While living with him I never felt comfortable around him. I never felt safe around him. Now I have a hard time trusting people and feeling comfortable around them.”
“I caused great psychological damage to them. It is very difficult for us to trust and feel confidence because we do not know how to return to trusting because we decided to trust someone he only abused by betrayal”
“[The victims” have a hard time interacting with people. They do not like to leave the house. They do not feel comfortable with other people because of him.”
“No child should be a victim of sexual abuse or mistreatment and have to live a marked childhood. As of today, [the victims] live a childhood marked by sexual abuse and psychology”
Gatica was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. Judge Young also ordered he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years following his release and must pay $9,000 in restitution to the three minor victims.