OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
MAY 27, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
BRANSON MAN SENTENCED TO 46 YEARS IN PRISON
FOR PRODUCING, DISTRIBUTING CHILD PORN
ADMITTED USING AN INFANT TO PRODUCE CHILD PORN
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Branson, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for using an infant to produce child pornography and for distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Ronald Darling, 45, of Branson, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to 46 years and five months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Darling to serve a term of 15 years of supervised release following his prison term. Darling’s federal sentence will be served concurrently with a 20-year state sentence for three counts of statutory sodomy.
On Jan. 21, 2010, Darling pleaded guilty to using a minor to produce child pornography between Dec. 3, 2003, and Oct. 27, 2006. Darling also admitted that he received and distributed child pornography over the Internet.
During an undercover investigation of Internet child pornography trafficking, an FBI agent downloaded a number of images and videos of child pornography that originated from Darling’s computer. A search warrant was executed at Darling’s residence and he was questioned by an FBI agent. Darling admitted that he engaged in online chats with others interested in child pornography and traded child pornography online a couple of times a week, for several hours at a time.
Darling also admitted that on numerous occasions he used an infant child to create child pornography. These depictions included images of himself sexually abusing the child on multiple occasions. Darling transmitted these images over the Internet to several people.
When Darling’s computer equipment was examined, investigators found thousands of images of child pornography, including numerous images of the child pornography that Darling admitted to producing with an infant. There was also evidence that Darling received and distributed child pornography on numerous occasions.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Taney County, Mo., Sheriff’s 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