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 30, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HUMAN TRAFFICKING RESCUE PROJECT
OPERATION GUARDIAN ANGEL
KANSAS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ATTEMPTED
SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an Ottawa, Kan., man pleaded guilty in federal court to the attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child.
This conviction is the result of Operation Guardian Angel, a unique undercover law enforcement investigation targeting the demand for child prostitutes in the Kansas City metro area. As a result of this investigation, a total of seven defendants were indicted in the nation’s first-ever federal prosecution of the alleged customers of child prostitution under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Richard J. Oflyng, 32, of Ottawa, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright on Monday, June 29, 2009, to the charge contained in a March 10, 2009, federal indictment.
During the weekend of March 5 to 7, 2009, the Human Trafficking Rescue Project, led by the Independence Police Department, conducted a sting operation targeting local customers who solicit pimps to engage in commercial sex acts with children. The “children” were advertised online at Craig’s List. No real children were actually involved in the sting.
Oflyng responded via e-mail to an ad that advertised “little girls available.” The ad clearly advertised the children for sex. Oflyng was then contacted by telephone by an undercover officer, who offered an 11-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl. Oflyng said he wanted to have sexual intercourse with the 11-year-old girl and agreed to pay $20 extra to have sex without using a condom. Oflyng made an appointment to arrive the following morning.
Oflyng, a truck driver, arrived at the undercover location in his semi-truck tractor trailer the next morning. When he entered the residence, he confirmed that he wanted an 11-year-old girl and would pay $60, plus $20 extra for not using a condom. Oflyng handed the undercover officer the cash and was directed to a room with a dirty mattress. When he stepped into the room, he was arrested.
Under federal statutes, Oflyng is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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 Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.
Operation Guardian Angel
Operation Guardian Angel was conducted by the Human Trafficking Rescue Project, a joint task force from the Independence Police Department, the FBI, ICE, and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department. During the undercover operation, task force officers placed Internet ads for underage prostitutes. According to court documents, the ads clearly stated that the prostitutes were “little girls” and were “young.” Those who responded to the ads were given directions to an undercover location that was outfitted with audio and video recording equipment. When they arrived at the undercover residence and paid cash for a child prostitute, they were arrested by task force officers.
This operation marks the first time that the U.S. Department of Justice has utilized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute customers who allegedly attempt to pay for sex with children. While the pimps who offer to sell children to others for prostitution have been prosecuted in the Western District and elsewhere, these indictments are the first in the nation to charge a “John” with attempting to pay for sex with a child.
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