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
APRIL 16, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
FORMER COLLEGE PROFESSOR PLEADS GUILTY
TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, ILLEGAL FIREARMS
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nevada, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing child pornography and to illegally possessing several firearms.
Thomas E. Ruley, 59, of Nevada, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to the charges contained in a March 31, 2009, federal indictment. Ruley was a professor at Cottey College, an all-women’s school in Nevada, at the time of the offense.
Ruley admitted that he was in possession of child pornography, which was discovered during a search of his home and computer equipment by law enforcement officers on July 4, 2008. Ruley admitted that some of the more than 600 images of child pornography involved a minor who was younger than 12 years of age, and portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct.
Ruley also admitted that, while he had a marijuana grow operation inside his residence and was an unlawful user of marijuana, he was in possession of a .38-caliber revolver and five rounds of .30 ammunition, a .32-caliber pistol with seven rounds of ammunition, a .22-caliber rifle and a 30-30 caliber level action rifle. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition.
By pleading guilty today, Ruley agreed to forfeit to the federal government four computer towers, a computer server, two flash drives and three CDs, all of which were used to commit the child pornography offenses, as well as the firearms.
Under federal statutes, Ruley is subject to a sentence of up to 20 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 the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Nevada, 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