Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Texas rodeo champ guilty of child trafficking
Texas rodeo champ guilty of child trafficking MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) - A 44-year-old Linden, Texas man has pleaded guilty to sexual assault related charges in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today. Rodney Ray Hayes pleaded guilty to the transportation of minors with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity today before U.S. District Judge T. John Ward. According to information presented in court, Hayes, also known as the Texas Kid, had a professional rodeo act which was based out of Linden, Cass County, Texas. As part of his rodeo act, Hayes had children under the age of eighteen years old performing and traveling with him. Hayes would travel with these children in interstate commerce to other states to perform their act at various rodeos. An investigation revealed that at various times between March 2005 and June 2008, Hayes engaged in illicit sexual contact with at least one minor. Hayes was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 7, 2010 This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. In addition to facing federal prison time, Hayes will be required to register as a sex offender and is prohibited from having any contact with his victims. A sentencing date has not been set. This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.