Merced man arrested in child pornography case

A 44-year-old Merced man was jailed Tuesday after officers found more than 160 video files of child pornography on his personal computer, the Merced Police Department reported.

Lawrence Romero Ramirez Jr. was arrested about 1:30 p.m. at his home in the 3200 block of Shamrock Avenue, Sgt. Scott Skinner said in a news release.

Ramirez could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Detective Dan Dabney, the lead investigator in the case, received information about one month ago of child pornography being downloaded to a computer in Merced.

Dabney, who is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force out of Fresno, traced the evidence to Ramirez’s residence, police said.

Officers served a search warrant at the home Tuesday afternoon.

“As Ramirez exited his bedroom, detectives noticed a laptop computer on his bed,” Skinner said in the statement. “The computer was on and displaying pictures from a website called Jail Bait.”

Police said the website showed girls between 13 and 16 exposing themselves on webcams.

“Ramirez denied to downloading any child pornography to his computer,” Skinner said. “He did admit to downloading questionable webcam videos. He stated his intent was not to download any videos of children being molested.”

Officers found more than 160 video files of pornography on the computer, depicting children between 2 and 16, police said.

“These were located in his personal files on his computer,” Skinner said. “A thorough forensic search will be completed on his computer and several other computers taken from his residence.”

Ramirez was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of child pornography possession and distributing child pornography. He posted bail a short time later and was released. A court date was not available Wednesday.

The case is still under investigation.