doj.gif

NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JULY 19, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


MARSHALL RADIO ANNOUNCER INDICTED FOR ATTEMPTING

TO ENTICE A MINOR FOR ILLICIT SEX


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Marshall, Mo., radio announcer was indicted by a federal grand jury today for using the Internet to attempt to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.


             Ethan D. Handel, 28, of Marshall, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Handel on July 16, 2007. Handel was a sports and weather announcer for KMMO Radio in Marshall.


             According to the affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Handel traveled to Independence, Mo., on July 15, 2007, to meet a 14-year-old girl with whom he had communicated via instant messaging. In reality, the affidavit says, the girl was an undercover police officer. During those online conversations, the affidavit says, Handel made arrangements to travel to the girl’s home in order to engage in illegal sexual activity. Handel was arrested when he arrived to meet the girl at the Independence address.


             Handel remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on July 23, 2007.


            Wood cautioned that the charge contained in the indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department.


Project Safe Childhood

            This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.



****************

This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html