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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


NOVEMBER 12, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


FORMER TANNING SALON OWNER SENTENCED

FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY


15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SECRETLY VIDEOTAPING

TEENAGE CUSTOMERS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former owner of a Springfield, Mo., tanning salon was sentenced in federal court today for producing child pornography by secretly videotaping teenage girls who were customers of his business.


             Brett Patrick Kent, 36, formerly of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this afternoon to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Kent is the former owner of 360 Degree Tan in Springfield.


             On April 1, 2008, Kent pleaded guilty to producing child pornography. Kent admitted that he used a hidden camera to secretly videotape at least 20 female customers, including seven minors, while they used the tanning beds. Kent has also pleaded guilty to 22 counts of felony invasion of privacy in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Mo., and awaits sentencing in that state case.


             An employee of Kent's at 360 Degree Tan discovered video images of a customer (a minor female) 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. Later that day, police officers executed a search warrant at the business and seized a covert hidden camera and other related equipment, including computer hardware and software. The camera lens was mounted inside the fan unit of a tanning bed using Velcro tape, positioned at the foot of the bed. Velcro tape was also found inside the fan unit of a second tanning bed.


             During a search of Kent’s computers and computer media, law enforcement officers discovered multiple video images of females that were in stages of undress, including partial and complete nudity. Police officers identified and interviewed 20 women identified from the digital video files. The females ranged in age from 16 to 26 years old. None of the women consented to being filmed. All of the women identified Kent as the employee on duty at the time of their tanning appointment.


             Seven minors were identified in 13 of the digital video files. The videos were made from Dec. 6 to 8, 2005. All of the girls appear completely nude, with one exception. Kent was the employee on duty on those dates.


             Kent also admitted that he possessed six computer CDs at his home that contained images and video of child pornography. The images of child pornography included prepubescent minors or children under the age of 12 years. At least some of the images of child pornography were downloaded from the Internet.


            This case was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.


Project Safe Childhood

            This case is being brought as part of 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