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Pastor pleads guilty to child porn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Duenweg, Mo., pastor pleaded guilty today to possessing child pornography.

Michael Alan Crippen, 60, of Duenweg, pleaded guilty to a charge contained in a Nov. 9, 2010, federal indictment. He was originally charged in an Oct. 26, 2010 complaint.

Crippen, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Duenweg, admitted that on August 23, 2009, while residing at 210 Parkmor Street in Duenweg, Missouri, he downloaded ten images of child pornography from a website. He admitted that he had viewed images of adult and child pornography via the internet for several years.

According to court documents, Crippen was identified during an investigation by the Dutch National Police into a Web site in The Netherlands that contained child pornography. Europol provided information to federal agents in the United States, who identified Crippen’s computer as one that downloaded child pornography in August 2009. Law enforcement officers contacted Crippen at his residence on Oct. 13, 2010, and seized his laptop and desktop computers. At least 100 images of child pornography were found on the computers, including children under 10 years of age. According to the plea agreement, during a consensual interview on Oct. 13, 2010, Crippen stated that he had prayed for God to intervene in his pornography problem.

Under federal statutes, Crippen is subject to a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, not more than lifetime supervised release, an order of restitution and a $100 mandatory special assessment which must be paid in full at the time of sentencing. 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 Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

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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