HOUSTON (KTRK) --A 47-year-old Houston firefighter is off the job and jailed on a charge of possession of child pornography.
Ruperto Martinez Jr. was arrested Wednesday, accused of exchanging nude pictures with a 14-year-old girl in Iowa. According to a court affidavit, the images were exchanged via the Kik smartphone app. The images, according to police, were of each other.
According to a probable cause document, Martinez began the cyber-relationship two years ago, when the girl was 12 or 13. The case was first investigated by the sheriff's office in Iowa City, Iowa based on information the girl's mother discovered on her daughter's cellphone.
Authorities in Iowa contacted Houston's Internet Crimes against Children Task Force to assist with the Texas end of the investigation. That led them to a cellphone account registered to Martinez. The images were said to be accessed at his southeast Houston home and at Fire Station 93, where he worked.
The Iowa investigator told police here that the girl said Martinez knew she was underage. In a statement to investigators here, Martinez said he thought she was 17, based on conversations they had about school. Police said there were also sexually explicit messages they texted.
The affidavit states that Martinez also told police that he had received images from other girls who were minors, but deleted them "because they were too young."
The phone app Martinez allegedly used to send and receive the pictures, and where he "met" the 14-year-old girl, was Kik, which promises anonymity. Officer Tracy Jackson, with the internet task force, said parents need to check not only their children's computers, but the apps they have on their phones. Certain apps, he said, should be considered red flags, and open the door to cyber predators.