RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Two people have admitted to taking advantage of minors by sexually assaulting them and creating child pornography in 2020.
McAllen resident Reid Etheridge, 41, and Edinburg resident Alicia Cronkhite, 29, admitted to the crimes on Thursday.
According to court documents, Etheridge, a former South Texas College professor, sexually assaulted two girls under the age of seven several times at his residence between January and October 2020. Etheridge admitted to filming the rape of these children.
Cronkhite, meanwhile, created explicit pornographic pictures of one of the children at her residence and sent them to Etheridge via text message.
An investigation was launched on the case when Google contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concerning a user uploading explicit photos of children to a Google account.
NCMEC sent a referral to the Texas Attorney General’s Office regarding the incident, who in turn, sent the information over to the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigation Task Force.
Investigators tracked Etheridge’s IP address to his residence and placed him under arrest.
Officials found 323 files of child pornography in Etheridge’s account. Also found on his devices were text messages between Etheridge and Cronkhite concerning the sexual assault of the victims.
Etheridge and Cronkhite pleaded guilty to two counts and one count of production of child pornography, respectively. Etheridge also admitted to coercion and enticement of a minor, while Cronkhite entered her plea to aiding and abetting the coercion and enticement of a minor.
The pair face a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence to life in prison along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.