project Safe childhood
former church youth director pleads guilty
to child exploitation and pornography,
will also plead to state charges
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Blue Springs, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to transporting a minor across state lines for illegal sexual activity and to receiving child pornography over the Internet.
Dennis W. Myers, 53, of Blue Springs, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer to the charges contained in a Feb. 20, 2013, federal indictment. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Myers must also plead guilty to the charges of statutory sodomy in the first degree and attempted enticement of a child in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Mo.
Myers formerly served as a youth director at Christ United Methodist Church in Independence, Mo., and at First United Methodist Church in Springdale, Ark.
By pleading guilty today, Myers admitted that he engaged in illicit sexual activity with a 16-year-old victim, identified as Jane Doe #1, and that he transported her across state lines.
Myers met Jane Doe #1 when he was youth director at the First United Methodist Church in Springdale. Myers left his employment with the church and started a DJ business in approximately 1993-94, when Jane Doe #1 was 15 years old. He was training Jane Doe #1 to assist him in that business. At that time, Myers admitted, he and Jane Doe #1 were engaging in some sexual activity. From November 1994 to November 1995, when Jane Doe #1 was approximately 16 years old, Myers transported her from Arkansas to the Kansas City, Mo., area, where they engaged in sexual intercourse.
Years later Myers moved to Blue Springs. Following complaints by two adolescents of inappropriate sexual activity, law enforcement officers searched his home on Sept. 5, 2011, and seized his computer. Forensic examiners found a video of child pornography that had been downloaded from the Internet and viewed on the computer.
Under federal statutes, Myers is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office will recommend a sentence of 10 years on each of the two state counts to run concurrently with each other and with the federal sentence. A federal 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 Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by the Blue Springs, Mo., Police Department.
Project Safe ChildhoodThis 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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