Military Policeman From Lemoore Naval Air Station Indicted For Sexual Exploitation Of Minors
FRESNO, Calif. — A grand jury in Fresno returned an indictment today against Michael Brandon Kiper, 29, of Lemoore, charging him with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of receipt of child pornography, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Kiper, who had been assigned duties as a military policeman at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in California, and while on temporary assignments in Nevada and in Bahrain, used accounts on Kik Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook to solicit sexually explicit images of numerous minor females. Kiper used an alias and claimed to be an agent for a modeling agency. Once he convinced minor females to send him at least one sexually explicit image of themselves, he threatened to post those images to social media sites unless the victims produced and transmitted additional sexually explicit images. One minor female told her mother about her communications with Kiper, and they contacted law enforcement. Kiper was apprehended in Oklahoma and transported in military custody to San Diego. He has since been taken into federal custody, and a magistrate judge in San Diego has ordered him detained. He will appear in federal court in Fresno once he is transported from San Diego.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Upper Perk (Pennsylvania) Police Department, and the Paoli (Indiana) Police Department. Forensic analysis of evidence is being conducted by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office which is part of the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney David Gappa is prosecuting this case.
If convicted, Kiper faces a maximum sentence for each of the two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release. The maximum sentence for each of the two receipt of child pornography charges are 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.