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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


RESPIRATORY THERAPIST PLEADS GUILTY

TO PRODUCING CHILD PORN,

FACES AT LEAST 15 YEARS IN PRISON


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a respiratory therapist pleaded guilty in federal court today to producing child pornography.


            Michael D. Toal, 56, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan to the charge contained in a March 16, 2010, federal indictment.


            By pleading guilty today, Toal admitted that he used a minor to produce child pornography on Aug. 2, 2009. According to the plea agreement, 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, Toal took sexually explicit photographs of the child with his digital camera and then loaded them onto his computer.


            The federal investigation began on Aug. 10, 2009, when 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. When FBI agents interviewed Toal at his home, Toal admitted that he had downloaded, viewed and then deleted child pornography, including images of the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, and images of violent sexual content with minors.


            Under federal statutes, Toal is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole. 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 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.


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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

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html