OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
JUNE 23, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
MUSIC TEACHER PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former music teacher at two Kansas City-area schools pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing child pornography and receiving child pornography over the Internet.
William Harold Laursen, 56, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this afternoon to all the charges contained in a six-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on Sept. 23, 2008. Laursen was a music teacher at Kansas City Academy in Kansas City, Mo., and at CS-1 Junior High School in Prairie Village, Kan.
Laursen admitted that he received child pornography over the Internet on five separate occasions from Jan. 10, 2007, to Jan. 18, 2008. Laursen also admitted that he was in possession of child pornography on Feb. 28, 2008.
By pleading guilty today, Laursen agreed to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a computer and hard drive.
Laursen was contacted by federal law enforcement agents during an investigation into commercial child pornography Web sites that required members to pay for subscriptions to access the member-restricted sites. Investigators discovered images and videos of child pornography during a forensic examination of Laursen’s computer.
Under federal statutes, Laursen is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to 110 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1.5 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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/.
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