A 65-year-old Fort Worth man has been charged with possessing child porn and sexual abuse of two children after lending his computer to a young family friend, who discovered nude photographs of his 10-year-old sister on it.
After learning about the photos, the girl’s family confronted Joe Garza Jr., then alerted Fort Worth police.
Garza was arrested March 3 for possession of child pornography and was later charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child for his alleged molestation of the 10-year-old girl.
On Tuesday, prosecutors filed a second charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child against Garza, accusing him of also abusing the girl’s older sister years ago.
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Garza remained at the Tarrant County Jail on Tuesday with bail set at a combined $145,000.
Domingo Martinez, a Fort Worth officer assigned to the North Texas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said the girls’ brother had been trying to fix his own hard drive when he asked to borrow Garza’s computer.
“When he hooked it up, he saw a folder on there,” Martinez said. “Curious, he looked at it, and that’s when he saw pictures of his sister.”
The boy returned the computer to Garza and alerted his parents. His mother had her son borrow the computer again and show her the photographs. He again returned the computer to Garza, acting as if nothing was wrong.
The mother then texted Garza, asking him to come over to talk. When he arrived, she confronted him about the photographs, Martinez said.
“They talked for two hours. I don’t know if he openly admitted it but he said he has a problem and asked her not to call the police and that he would disappear and not come back,” Martinez said.
But the mother texted an older daughter, asking her to call the police. Garza was still at the family’s home when officers arrived, Martinez said.
During subsequent questioning, Garza admitted to Martinez to sexually abusing the 10-year-old girl as well as taking photographs and video of the girl, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
He also confessed to molesting the girl’s older sister when she was about 10 or 11, the affidavit states.
In a forensic interview, the older sister, now in her teens, confirmed the abuse. She told investigators Garza would make her wear a blindfold when he abused her, the affidavit states.
The younger girl told officials that Garza told her not to tell her parents about the touching and pictures, and that he bought her various things and gave her money.
Martinez said he believes both girls were abused for at least a year.
A forensic search of Garza’s computer revealed photographs and videos of both girls, according to the affidavit.
In one of the videos, a girl believed to be the older victim is seen hanging upside down in the dining room area from what appears to be a white rope. A subsequent search of Garza’s home revealed a wooden swinglike contraption with white rope hanging from a rafter in the dining room, the affidavit stated.
Martinez said he will consult with the U.S. Attorney’s office to determine if federal charges might be sought in the case.
Investigators say they suspect there could be additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to call Martinez at 817-348-1153.