Marfa resident and softball coach PJ Serrano charged with possession of child pornography

MARFA — Marfa local Patricio Javier “PJ” Serrano, 35, was arrested and charged last week with possession of child pornography. He remains in custody as he awaits a preliminary detention hearing.

News of Serrano’s arrest sent shockwaves through the Big Bend Amateur Softball Association (BBASU), where he coached a softball team for girls 10 and up. A representative for the association took to social media last week to assure community members that Serrano has been suspended and no allegations have emerged against him within the team.

“This news has shocked all of us,” wrote Letty Carillo of BBASU. “At this time there are no allegations that involve any of the Lady Horns 10u players. [Serrano’s] coaching status is suspended. Reports to USA Softball and SafeSport have been completed and will be updated as needed. Keep the Marfa community and the Lady Horns in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to a criminal complaint, investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety executed a federal search warrant on the morning of May 5 for all electronics used by Serrano and recovered a Samsung Galaxy in his possession. Though Serrano refused to provide the passcode, agents managed to search it via a “ruse,” per the complaint: agents handed Serrano his phone, at which point he unlocked it, and agents snatched it from his hands before he could lock it again.

A search of the phone revealed numerous pieces of child pornography involving prepubescent boys, according to the complaint, including images, videos, and content within the phone’s browser. 

Records show Serrano was formally arrested on May 11, and the criminal complaint was filed on May 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. 

As of press time, Serrano was being held in the Presidio County Jail as a federal inmate. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, has filed a motion to have Serrano detained without bond on the grounds that he poses a flight risk, is a danger to the community and might attempt to obstruct justice if released. A preliminary detention hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Shane O’Neal, the attorney appointed to represent Serrano, did not return a request for comment.

Serrano had recently been arrested twice by the Marfa Police Department for unrelated offenses, public records show. On April 4, Serrano was arrested for harassment, a class B misdemeanor, and was released on a $1,000 cash bond. He was arrested again on April 7 for violation of a protective order, a class A misdemeanor, and was released on a $4,000 surety bond.