News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

kansas man sentenced to 10 yeasr in prison
for enticing joplin minor for illicit sex

December 19, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Baxter Springs, Kan., man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to entice a Joplin, Mo., minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

Ronald J. Byler, 24, of Baxter Springs, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 10 years in federal prison without parole.

According to court documents, the mother of a 13-year-old Joplin girl was checking the child’s cell phone messages in August 2012 and found text messages of a sexual nature from Byler. Byler also asked the girl to send him nude images of herself. The child met Byler earlier in the summer while she was performing community service at the Joplin Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV) Thrift store, where he was employed.

A law enforcement officer used the cell phone, portraying himself as the minor victim. Byler quickly requested nude images and discussed meeting for various forms of sexual intercourse. On Aug. 10, 2012, Byler said he wanted to meet at a Joplin park for the purpose of having sex. The text messages sent from Byler’s cell phone asked about anal sex and described how he wished to “gag” her during intercourse. Byler also indicated that he intended to photograph the two of them having sex.

Officers located Byler at approximately 9:50 p.m. as he was riding is bicycle around Leonard Park. Byler was arrested, and during an interview with law enforcement officers, admitted that he had sent the victim two pornographic images using his cell phone approximately a week earlier.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.

Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

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