- At least seven accused pedophiles were seen in the child abuse videos seen by the FBI
- Galleria mall worker Arthur Hector Fernandez was arrested in December
- Fellow mall workers had entrusted him with their toddlers’ care
Horrifying videos have surfaced of a gang of at least seven men sexually abusing toddlers inside the restroom of a Texas mall, cops say.
Arthur Hector Fernandez, 29, a kiosk worker at the Galleria mall in Houston, is charged with assaulting the toddlers and then posting the videos online.
Two friends of Fernandez sometimes left their children, two 2-year-olds, in his care while they worked at the mall, according to police.
The FBI says they launched a probe last month after the abuse videos posted on a private online forum were shared by by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, as reported by the Star-Telegraph.
Arthur Hector Fernandez, 29, is accused of leading a gang of pedophiles who filmed themselves raping two toddlers in a Texas mall bathroom
Each of the four videos shared with authorities reportedly shows a different assault, and they take place in different rooms and locations, including the bathrooms at the mall.
Fernandez is the only suspect charged in the case so far. It is unclear if the others said to appear in the video have been identified by officials.
Police closed in on him by using an open-source image repository to search for the face of one of the children and then matched it with social media images shared by one of the women.
When police showed the child’s mom ‘sanitized’ image from the abuse materials, the woman reportedly noticed a pair of bracelets owned by Fernandez.
Police then saw the bracelets on the suspect’s social media.
The attacks are said to have happened at Houston’s Galleria Mall, where Fernandez worked in a kiost
Responding to the case, FBI agent Torrence White warned parents that predators are often someone they know.
White told ABC13: ‘The perpetrators of these crimes are family members, teachers, and members of the community. Oftentimes folks are looking for the monster in the white van, but often it’s the person you know.’
Fernandez was arrested in December and remains in federal custody.
Houston’s Galleria is the largest mall in Texas and seventh largest in the United States.
It opened in 1969 and now contains 400 stores.