News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

joplin college student pleads guilty to attempting
to produce child porn,
faces 20 years in prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to sexually exploiting three minors in an attempt to produce child pornography.

Harry Sneed, 19, of St. Louis, Mo., a student at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England to the charges contained in a May 12, 2010, indictment. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Sneed will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole if the District Court judge accepts the plea agreement.

Sneed admitted that he sent a series of e-mail messages to three 11-year-old minors, urging them to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves. Sneed portrayed himself as a 14-year-old girl who belonged to a “secret modeling agency,” and promised the victims they could earn a lot of money working for the agency. Sneed also admitted that he sent images of child pornography to the victims. None of the victims complied with Sneed’s requests.

Joplin police officers arrested Sneed at his dormitory room on March 18, 2010. Investigators searched his computer and found hundreds of photo and video files of child pornography.

By pleading guilty today, Sneed also agreed to forfeit to the government a laptop computer and five USB flash drives.

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 James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the St. Louis County, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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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