Fernando Rivas, a former award-winning composer for Sesame Street, entered a not guilty plea in federal court Monday (Nov. 21), in Charleston, S.C., on charges of production, transportation and possession of child pornography, according to the local Post and Courier. Local officers and FBI agents had executed a search warrant at Rivas's Charleston home on April 19, during which Rivas reportedly admitted to restraining a 4-year-old girl in handcuffs and photographing her, the paper says.
According to his website, Rivas began to write for the Children's Television Workshop, now Sesame Workshop, in 1990 and composed "a number of songs for the show Sesame Street," featuring singers Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Cindy Lauper. The Juilliard School alum shared Emmy Awards in 1995 and '96 for his work on the show. The New York Daily News reports he worked on Elmopalooza, which won the 1999 Grammy for Best Children's Album.
Rivas posted 10 percent of $300,000 bail. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant ordered Rivas to remain at home with electronic monitoring, no Internet access and no interaction with children without an adult present who is aware of the charges against him.