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project safe childhood

registered sex offender among four men indicted for child porn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender was among four men indicted by a federal grand jury today in separate and unrelated cases related to child pornography.

USA v. Ploof

Austin Wayne Ploof, 34, of Springfield, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield. Ploof is a registered sex offender in the state of Kansas due to a 2004 felony conviction for the sexual exploitation of a child. Today’s indictment replaces a criminal complaint that was filed against Ploof on July 27, 2011.

Today’s indictment alleges that Ploof received child pornography over the Internet between June 12 and 29, 2011. The indictment also alleges that Ploof was in possession of child pornography during that time.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Ploof to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a USB flash drive.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

USA v. Coulter

Shawn David Coulter, 43, of Lebanon, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Today’s indictment alleges that Coulter received child pornography over the Internet between Jan. 1 and April 5, 2009. The indictment also alleges that Coulter was in possession of child pornography on April 5, 2009.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Coulter to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a computer hard drive and a computer tower.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the Lebanon, Mo., Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

USA v. Orona

Benjamin Orona, 29, of Springfield, Mo., was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Today’s indictment alleges that Orona received and distributed child pornography over the Internet between May 30 and June 27, 2011.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Orona to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a laptop computer, and netbook computer, two computer hard drives, two memory cards and four computer cables.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force.

USA v. Biggins

Robert Biggins, 28, of St. Robert, Mo., was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Today’s indictment alleges that Biggins received and distributed child pornography over the Internet between June 17, 2007, and May 15, 2011.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Biggins to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a laptop computer, a desktop computer, three external hard drives and 14 CDs.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the St. Robert, Mo., Police Department.

Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments 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.

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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