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jury convicts carthage man of sexual exploitation of a child

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Carthage, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of the sexual exploitation of a child.

Todd Christopher Smith, 41, of Carthage, was found guilty of using a minor to create child pornography.

Officers with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department responded to Smith’s residence on Sept. 27, 2011, after receiving a report that he had slapped a minor female. In the course of their investigation, officers found evidence of Smith’s sexual abuse of several child victims. Officers discovered six videos on Smith’s cell phone that depicted Smith engaged in sex with the child victim. There were also 12 videos that appear to have been taken covertly in the bathrooms in Smith’s residence that depict the child victim as well as five other minors.

Under federal statutes, Smith is subject to a sentence of 35 years to life in federal prison without parole, based on his prior convictions for sexual misconduct in the first degree in Missouri and criminal sexual abuse in Illinois (both convictions involved minor victims). A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., deliberated for 10 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr, ending a trial that began Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

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 www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

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