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
SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
KC MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSING CHILD PORN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing child pornography.
Joseph A. Wiswell, 57, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan this afternoon to the charge contained in an April 8, 2009, federal indictment.
The investigation of Wiswell resulted from an undercover child pornography operation that led investigators to the home Wiswell shared with Richard C. Harrison, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in a separate and unrelated case. As part of that undercover operation, an inspector with the U. S. Postal Inspection Service placed an advertisement on a Yahoo newsgroup offering “2 young boy models that will pose and make any kind of movie you want.” On the day of the posting, the inspector received a response to his ad from an individual later identified as Harrison. After exchanging a number of e-mails with the undercover inspector regarding the type of movie Harrison wanted, Harrison asked the inspector to send the video to his residence.
On July 2, 2004, federal agents conducted a controlled delivery of a video tape depicting minor boys engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Approximately 45 minutes after the controlled delivery occurred, agents executed a federal warrant to search the residence. During the search of the residence, agents recovered nine three-ring binders containing pornography. The pictures were contained within e-mails, received by Wiswell over a four-year time period, which were printed from a computer and placed in the binders. Approximately 175 of the images depict minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Under federal statutes, Wiswell is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years 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 Beth Phillips. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to 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