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
DECEMBER 21, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
JASPER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORN
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Jasper, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing and distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Donald Lee Zaerr, 58, of Jasper, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to the charges contained in a Nov. 23, 2009, federal indictment.
Zaerr admitted that he distributed at least four images of child pornography over the Internet on Oct. 7, 2009. Zaerr also admitted that he was in possession of child pornography on Nov. 5, 2009.
Federal agents and members of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force executed a state search warrant at Zaerr’s residence on Nov. 5, 2009. Officers discovered images of child pornography on Zaerr’s computer, which he had posted on the Internet using file-sharing software.
By pleading guilty today, Zaerr also agreed to forfeit to the government 12 computers, four thumb drives and 28 CDR disks, all of which were used to commit the offenses.
Under federal statutes, Zaerr is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. 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 Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.
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