McAllen, Texas: U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery for the Southern District of Texas announced yesterday that Reid Etheridge, 42, of McAllen, Texas had been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane to life in prison for child exploitation.
Judge Crane is said to have heavily weighed the chances of Etheridge, a former professor at South Texas College, re-offending in the future if he should be released from prison when handing down the sentence.
30-year-old Alicia Cronkhite of Edinburg, Texas was sentenced to 15 years in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
In her sentencing, Judge Crane considered evidence that Etheridge manipulated Cronkhite into participating.
"This lengthy sentence is a testament to the repugnant nature of child exploitation crimes, particularly the production of child pornography which only perpetuates the trauma endured by the victims," Acting Special Agent in Charge Alejandro Amaro of Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio stated in the release. "HSI agents make it a top priority to protect vulnerable children from victimization by working with their law enforcement partners to investigate predators involved with the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material and ensure they are held accountable for their heinous actions."
Etheridge abused two minor children from on or before January 1, 2020 to October 1, 2020 some of which was recorded and uploaded to the internet.
On October 2, 2020 investigators arrived at Etheridge's home with a search warrant after they had traced an IP address suspected of uploading images and videos of child sexual abuse.
Etheridge "soon admitted he had filmed himself sexually assaulting one minor victim."
As investigators reviewed his electronic devices, communications were found between Etheridge and Cronkhite "detailing the sexual exploitation of another minor victim."
When investigators searched her home, she is also said to have "admitted she produced multiple images of a minor victim and transmitted the images to Etheridge."