Local man guilty in porn case involving wife, family member

Posted: June 18, 2013

The Winchester Star

Hugo Sandoval

WINCHESTER — A local man was found guilty Monday of several child pornography and sexual indecency charges from 2004 after he and his wife made a 13-year-old family member pose nude several times for “kinky pictures.”

Hugo Sandoval, 38, appeared in Winchester Circuit Court with local attorney Matt Beyrau and pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of production of child pornography, 11 counts of indecent liberties with a minor and three counts of conspiring to produce child pornography.

After listening to about an hour of recorded phone calls from Sandoval — who was at the time and still is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center — instructing his wife, Helen Mason, and the then-juvenile family member to pose nude and sometimes with sex toys, Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. wasted no time finding him guilty of all but two counts of conspiring to produce child pornography.

A pre-sentence report was ordered in the case, and Sandoval is set to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Aug. 9.

He was previously indicted in the same ordeal in April 2005 on 10 counts of producing and distributing child pornography, three counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor, one count of conspiring to produce and distribute child pornography and one count of conspiring to take indecent liberties with a child.

But those charges were dropped in March 2006 pending an appeal from Mason, according to a previous Winchester Star article.

Mason, 48, also was convicted of sexual crimes stemming from the ordeal.

In June 2005, she was sentenced to serve 10 years in jail for indecent liberties and producing obscene materials.

Sandoval is currently serving an 11-year sentence for sexual battery of minors and carnal knowledge, for which he was sentenced in April 2004.

Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney Alexander R. Iden said at Monday’s hearing that the crimes in the latter case took place over a single weekend in August 2004.

On a Friday night, Sandoval is heard on a recorded phone call from jail discussing with Mason and the victim his desire to take and see “kinky pictures” of the two of them.

“Are you going to take some kinky pictures tonight?” he is heard asking Mason and the girl in a recording played for the court during Monday’s bench trial.

When Mason discusses whether they would be naked or in “string bikinis” in the pictures, Sandoval replies, “No, I like to see the real thing.”

The phone calls get progressively more explicit, with Sandoval discussing certain poses for the pictures.

In the recordings, they discuss taking pictures in the shower and with sex toys and some of the pictures are taken with Sandoval on the phone.

The now 21-year-old victim testified Monday that Mason would talk to her before the phone calls and would threaten to send her back to foster care and or get rid of her animals if she didn’t take the pictures that Sandoval wanted.

“Even though I didn’t want to, she took the pictures,” the victim said.

Eventually, on the Sunday of the weekend the phone calls took place, Mason delivered photos of Sandoval masturbating to the victim.

In recordings played for the court, Sandoval and the victim discuss his genitals in the pictures Mason gave to her.

Mason and Sandoval also asked the girl which picture of Sandoval she liked best, and when she said she liked them all, Mason asked which one she looked at the longest.

The prosecution rested after the phone calls were played for the court, and Beyrau did not call on any witnesses in the case.

He renewed motions to strike all the charges based on a prejudice and delay in justice, which Wetsel denied.

He also made several motions to strike various charges, which were mostly denied.

Wetsel did grant a motion by Beyrau to strike all but one of the conspiracy to produce child pornography charges.

He also said that one of Beyrau’s points was well made about prosecuting charges based on the number of pictures taken as opposed to just the incident.

Beyrau was trying to have all but one production of child pornography charge struck from the case.

In an analogy demonstrating Beyrau’s argument, Wetsel said that someone who robs a business and takes 10,000 $1 bills does not get charged with 10,000 counts of robbery.

However, he ultimately said his hands were tied on the issue because of a Supreme Court decision.

Neither Iden nor Beyrau said much in closing arguments.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com