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
FEBRUARY 24, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD
RESPIRATORY THERAPIST CHARGED
WITH PRODUCING CHILD PORN
ADMITS TO SEXUAL CONTACT WITH CHILDREN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a respiratory therapist who sometimes worked in the pediatric unit at Kansas University Medical Center has been charged in federal court with producing child pornography and attempting to distribute child pornography over the Internet.
Michael D. Toal, 55, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Toal had his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays this afternoon and remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Monday, March 1, 2010.
The federal criminal complaint alleges that Toal used a minor to produce child pornography on Aug. 2, 2009. According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Toal told FBI agents that he sexually abused an 8-year-old child who was in his care at his house. While the victim was asleep, the affidavit says, Toal took sexually explicit photographs of the child with his digital camera and then loaded them onto his computer.
The federal complaint also charges Toal with attempting to distribute child pornography over the Internet on Aug. 10, 2009. According to the affidavit, an agent at the FBI’s Denver, Col., division conducted an investigation using peer-to-peer file-sharing software and downloaded images of child pornography that were available to be shared from Toal’s computer, which was using a similar software program.
Law enforcement officers interviewed Toal at his home earlier this month and seized his computer, which as later investigation revealed, contained a large quantity of child pornography, the affidavit says.
The government filed a motion today to keep Toal in federal custody without bond, alleging that he is a danger to the community. According to the motion for detention, Toal told agents that he inappropriately touched at least one child patient while working as a respiratory therapist. Toal has increased his access to children who are vulnerable, the motion says, by becoming a volunteer with Jackson County’s CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program for abused and neglected children who are in the care and custody of the state.
The motion for detention also alleges that, because Toal faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted, he is a flight risk. Under federal statutes, a conviction for producing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole.
Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this complaint 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by task force officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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