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The Region

Abuse Case May Include Video Sales

Authorities in two states are investigating whether an O.C. man accused of filming child molestations also was distributing the tapes.

September 20, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

California and Texas authorities are investigating whether an Orange County man caught with more than 100 allegedly homemade child pornography videotapes may have been selling them.

Law enforcement officials also are scrutinizing David S. Hwang's possible involvement in an international porn-distribution ring that was broken up two years ago by federal authorities. Though his name surfaced at the time, there was not enough evidence to pursue Hwang, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Hwang, 31, and his wife, Sheila M. Sikat, 23, were arrested two weeks ago at their Rancho Santa Margarita home after investigators seized a trunk holding more than 100 videotapes that allegedly show Hwang molesting girls, sometimes with his wife or, in earlier years, his former girlfriend, Nora Contreras.

All three remain in jail after pleading not guilty to charges they filmed themselves having sex with children.

Authorities initially said they did not believe Hwang was selling any tapes but have since been tipped by a convicted child molester in Texas who said he had bought a tape from Hwang, Amormino said.

That convict, serving time in federal prison, is being interviewed by detectives, Amormino said.

Authorities also have identified nine computers that Hwang may have used. Those are being inspected for any evidence that he may have been distributing child porn, he said.

"Right now we don't have it," Amormino said. "But if there's evidence those tapes were sold across state lines, then it becomes a federal case."

Hwang and Sikat are due back in court Oct. 3. Hwang is charged with 21 counts of lewd acts upon a child and Sikat faces four counts of the same charge. Each could face an additional count of recording minors engaging in a sex act.

Detectives have viewed all of the videos found in Hwang's home and have identified all but two of eight young girls who appear in the tapes. The children appear to range in age from 8 months to 12 years.

Prosecutors, who based the current charges on the contents of one videotape, have indicated they plan to file more charges.

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