project safe childhood
eldridge man sentenced to 35 years for producing child porn
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Eldridge, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for producing and possessing child pornography.
Steven Leslie Pepper, 60, of Eldridge, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 35 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Pepper to forfeit to the government the digital camera that he used to commit the offense.
On July 12, 2011, Pepper pleaded guilty to using a minor to produce child pornography and to being in possession of child pornography. According to court documents, Pepper sexually abused a five-year-old victim in order to create child pornography.
The court ordered the statutory maximum penalty of 30 years for producing child pornography to be served consecutively to a five-year sentence for possessing child pornography, for a total sentenced of 35 years.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the FBI, the Dallas County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Camden County, Mo., Sheriff’s 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.