‘Death Penalty Now’: 7 Men Allegedly Gang Raped Toddlers At Mall In Texas
A view from the second level of The Galleria mall Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Houston.
James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

A 29-year-old man is in federal custody after an FBI investigation into videos that were found on the dark web that allegedly showed multiple men sexually assaulting toddlers at the Galleria Mall in Houston, the largest mall in the state.

Arthur Hector Fernandez, who worked at the mall, was taken into custody late last month after the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) contacted the FBI in early December to report that they had discovered disturbing videos of child sexual abuse posted in a private forum on the dark web, USA Today reported.

Fernandez abused one of the young children in a public restroom, authorities said. He allegedly had access to the child because he was friends with her mother, who also worked at the mall, and she would leave her daughter with him sometimes.

“The evidence in this case is overwhelming and revolting,” the judge wrote in a court order requiring Fernandez to remain detained pending trial. “I cannot allow (him) to abuse any other minors and there are no conditions or combination of conditions that can alleviate a danger to the community. This is not a close call.”

Fox 26 Houston reported that the videos of the sexual assaults of the two small children, ages 2 and 3, involved “at least six other men.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) responded to the news story by posting on X: “Death penalty now.”

Dr. Bob Sanborn, President and CEO of the organization Children at Risk, mentioned potential signs that parents should look for in their children if they suspect their child may have been abused.

“Kids, after they’ve been out with someone who you thought you trusted them, they will sort of withdraw,” he said. “They’ll be more quiet. Look for those changes in your children; bedridden, not eating. All these things are sort of signs that something’s not right with your child. In this case, we’re talking about toddlers. They really couldn’t communicate. They don’t know what’s right and wrong.”

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