News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

bail bondsman convicted of producing child porn,
faces at least 15 years in prison

February 13, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a bail bondsman from Kansas City, Mo., was convicted in federal court today of producing child pornography.

Joseph Vanhorn, 70, of Kansas City, was found guilty of the charge contained in an Oct. 7, 2010, federal indictment following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr.

Vanhorn, the owner of Victory Bail Bonds in Kansas City, was found guilty of using a 12-year-old minor (identified as AJane Doe@) to produce child pornography. Vanhorn provided marijuana and alcohol to the minor on several occasions and took sexually explicit photographs at his trailer in Noel, Mo., from Aug. 1 to Dec. 10, 2009. Law enforcement investigators discovered images of child pornography, including images of the minor victim, on Vanhorn=s computer at his residence in Kansas City.

Under federal statutes, Vanhorn is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Bonner Springs, Kan., Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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

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