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Project safe childhood

Music teacher sentenced for child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a professional musician and former music teacher at two Kansas City-area schools was sentenced in federal court today for possessing child pornography and receiving child pornography over the Internet.

William Harold Laursen, 57, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to seven years and six months in federal prison without parole.

The court also ordered Laursen to pay $5,000 in restitution to one of his victims, who has been identified as the subject of a nearly two-hour movie that Laursen admitted to downloading over the Internet on Christmas Eve 2007. The victim, who was 10 or 11 years old at the time, was videotaped while being subjected to multiple acts of sexual abuse by her father, including bondage. Laursen viewed this movie, as well as other movies of the same victim, multiple times over a period of months, and never deleted them from his computer. The victim is asking that every person who knowingly possesses these images be made jointly and severally liable with all other possessors to provide restitution for counseling costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses. Under the court’s order, Laursen will only have to pay $3,000 in restitution if he pays the full amount within 30 days.

Laursen, a professional jazz pianist, was a music teacher at Kansas City Academy in Kansas City, Mo., and at CS-1 Junior High School in Prairie Village, Kan.

On June 23, 2009, Laursen pleaded guilty to five counts of receiving child pornography over the Internet and one count of possessing child pornography. Laursen viewed online child pornography almost on a daily basis for more than a year, from January 2007 to February 2008, using the same computer that he shared with his teenage daughter. Laursen’s collection of child pornography exceeded 5,000 images and 70 movies. This conservative estimate only includes the files that were still active on Laursen’s computer, and marks the point at which the reviewing law enforcement agent stopped counting. Laursen’s digital collection is among the largest in the history of child exploitation prosecutions in the Western District of Missouri.

Laursen was contacted by federal law enforcement agents during an investigation into commercial child pornography Web sites that required visitors to pay for subscriptions to access the member-restricted sites. Laursen admitted that he purchased access to a Web site that allowed him to download child pornography. The government has cited credible evidence that Laursen purchased two monthly subscriptions to additional child pornography Web sites in September 2006, approximately a month before his 13-to-14-year-old daughter moved in with him.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Project Safe Childhood
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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