AG Balderas Secures 30 Year Prison Sentence for Former UNM Medical Student Charged with Possessing and Manufacturing Child Sexual Exploitation Materials

For Immediate Release:
March 30, 2022
Contact: Jerri Mares — (505) 321-4372

ALBUQUERQUE, NM— Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that Sergei Von Hoyningen-Huene was sentenced to 30 years by Judge Cindy Leos. In May of 2021, Von Hoyningen-Huene pleaded guilty to three counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child (Manufacture) and one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Child (Possession). In July 2020, Albuquerque Police Department investigators, acting on a cybertip that located child exploitation materials, conducted a search warrant of Von Hoyningen-Huene’s Albuquerque residence, where they found and seized multiple images and videos of child sexual exploitation contained on phones, laptops, and hard drives. At the time, Von Hoyningen-Huene was a medical student at the University of New Mexico as well as a commissioned officer with the United States Navy.

“I applaud Judge Leos for recognizing the extreme danger this individual poses to children and ensuring he cannot hurt another child,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Protecting New Mexico’s children from dangerous predators is a top priority.”

Von Hoyningen-Huene was found to be in possession of thousands of images and videos of child sexual exploitation, and was involved in several online chats and messaging services involving child sexual abuse material, sometimes using a different online persona. Von Hoyningen-Huene was careful to hide and bury the offending files and also was able to encrypt some of them using, an offshore end-to-end encrypted server. Investigators determined Von Hoyningen-Huene used his wife’s identity to solicit a South Carolina man (Sean M. Bandelier) to molest his own children and share photographic evidence of those acts with Von Hoyningen-Huene. In January 2022, Bandelier was sentenced in South Carolina to 27 years in Federal prison for producing child pornography.

The case was investigated by members of the Albuquerque Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Caitlin L. Dillon.