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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 27, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


FORMER TANNING SALON OWNER INDICTED

FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the former owner of a Springfield, Mo., tanning salon has been indicted by a federal grand jury for producing and possessing child pornography.


             Brett Patrick Kent, 35, formerly of Springfield, was charged in an eight-count indictment returned on Thursday, July 26, 2007, by a federal grand jury in Springfield. The indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Kent on Dec. 13, 2006. Kent, the former owner of 360 Degree Tan in Springfield, was a federal fugitive until his arrest in Phoenix, Ariz., on June 23, 2007.


             The federal indictment charges Kent with six counts of producing child pornography and two counts of possessing child pornography.


             According to the indictment, Kent used six minor female victims to produce child pornography on separate occasions from Dec. 6 to 8, 2005. Kent allegedly videotaped each of the minor victims, without their knowledge or permission, while they were using the tanning beds at 360 Degree Tan.


             The federal indictment also alleges that Kent was in possession of a computer that contained child pornography on Dec. 9, 2005, and in possession of computer discs that contained child pornography on Dec. 13, 2005.


             According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, an employee of Kent’s at 360 Degree Tan discovered video images of a customer (identified as minor female #2) in various stages of undress, including full nudity, on the business computer on Dec. 9, 2005. The video appeared to have been made from a camera located somewhere near the tanning bed that allowed the viewing of the person disrobing from an image reflected on a mirror in the room and then the fully exposed nude person, including images of the person lying on the tanning bed. The employee reported what she found to the police.


             Police officers executed a search warrant at the business and found a covert hidden camera and other related equipment, including computer hardware and software. Video files of the six minor female victims, as well as video files of adult women, in various stages of undress, including partial and complete nudity, were found on the business computer.


             According to the affidavit, law enforcement investigators found more than 4,295 suspected images and 53 suspected video files believed to be child pornography on computer CDs that were seized from Kent’s residence.


             The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Kent to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including two computers, a camera and other equipment.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges 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 Rose A. Barber. It was investigated by the Springfield, 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/.


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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