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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html


NOVEMBER 10, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


PASTOR CHARGED WITH ADDITIONAL

CHILD PORN COUNT


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Duenweg, Mo., pastor was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday for receiving and possessing child pornography.


            Michael Alan Crippen, 51, of Duenweg, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Crippen on Oct. 26, 2010.


            Crippen, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Duenweg, was originally charged with receiving child pornography. Today’s indictment contains an additional charge of possessing child pornography.


            According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Crippen was identified during an investigation by the Dutch National Police into a Web site in The Netherlands that contained child pornography. Europol provided information to federal agents in the United States, who identified Crippen’s computer as one that downloaded child pornography in August 2009. Law enforcement officers contacted Crippen at his residence on Oct. 13, 2010, and seized his laptop and desktop computers. At least 100 images of child pornography were found on the computers, the affidavit says, including children under 10 years of age.


            Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.


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.


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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

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html