FBI nabs TX mall worker accused of filming himself and 6 men gang-raping 2 toddlers in bathroom

A former Houston Galleria shopping mall employee reportedly filmed himself and six other men gang-raping two male toddlers at the mall.

The 29-year-old suspect, Arthur Hector Fernandez III, then uploaded the content to the dark web, where investigators with the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) later discovered it.

The ACCCE then handed the content over to the FBI, who subsequently “were able to identify Fernandez through relatives of the two male toddlers who identified the clothes the children were wearing in sanitized images from the videos,” according to station KRIV.

They specifically recognized “the silver bracelets seen on one of the man’s wrists in the videos, now identified as Fernandez, which were a chain-style bracelet with a dolphin charm and a solid beaded bracelet.”

When the FBI later searched Fernandez’ home, they found a pair of white, low-top Converse All-Star shoes that had been seen on the bathroom floor in the videos uploaded to the dark web.

The relatives who helped bust Fernandez were also the same ones who’d handed their children over to him in the first place …

“A relative of the first toddler said they’d been called in to work on a scheduled day off, leaving them scrambling to find a babysitter,” The Messenger has confirmed. “They took the child to work, where Fernandez allegedly offered to watch them.”

And they evidently agreed for reasons that remain unclear. Same with the second child.

“A relative of the second toddler said they were in a similar predicament when they brought their child to work. Fernandez allegedly said he’d babysit the child — walking them around the mall and watching over them,” The Messenger notes.

The victims are reportedly aged two and three.

One of the explicit videos uploaded to the dark web shows one of the boys on a changing table being assaulted as Fernandez records.

“In three other videos, a second toddler is shown on a changing table, with multiple men, including Fernandez. Fernandez was part of the act which was caught on at least two of these recordings,” according to WION.

Fernandez has since been charged with the sexual exploitation of children. It’s unclear what’ll happen to the other men in the video.

Speaking with station KRIV about this incident, Dr. Bob Sanborn of Children at Risk said parents should always be wary of telltale signs that their children have been abused and exploited by someone.

“Kids, after they’ve been out with someone who you thought you trusted them, they will sort of withdraw,” he explained. “They’ll be more quiet. Look for those changes in your children: bedridden, not eating.”

“All these things are sort of signs that something’s not right with your child. In this case, we’re talking about toddlers. They really couldn’t communicate. They don’t know what’s right and wrong,” he added.

He also called on policymakers to figure out how to make malls and other popular locations safer for children.

“I think as parents you want to go with your gut, but also as policymakers, people need to start figuring out how do we figure out we have safe environments for our kids so parents don’t have to wait on a creepy uncle or a neighbor they think is safe,” he said.

Responding to this series of events, social media users expressed fury at  both Fernandez and the trusting parents who’d handed their children over to him. Social media users also wondered why only Fernandez has thus far been arrested and held accountable.


Vivek Saxena


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