A 44-year-old Linden, Texas man has been indicted on child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Rodney Ray Hayes was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 7, 2010 and charged with four counts of transporting minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Hayes appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Chad Everingham today and was released on a $100,000.00 unsecured bond.
According to the indictment, Hayes, a.k.a. “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 18 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. It is alleged that he engaged in sexual activity committed in interstate commerce with these children, which would be considered sexual assault and indecency with a child in Texas.
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.
If convicted, Hayes faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.
It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.