project safe childhood
former school employee sentenced to 20 years
for child sexual exploitation
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former employee of the Joplin, Mo., school district was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting several child victims.
Ronny Justin Myers, 35, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The court granted the government’s motion for an upward variance and sentenced Myers to a longer prison term than was recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines (151 to 188 months). Following his prison term, Myers will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. The court also ordered Myers to pay $5,000 in restitution to a 14-year-old victim (identified in court documents as “C.A.”).
On May 13, 2013, Myers pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor and to enticing a minor for criminal sexual activity. At the time of his arrest, Myers had been employed as an assistant network systems administrator for the Joplin school district since December 2005.
According to court documents, Myers contacted C.A. via Facebook in November 2012. This contact prompted C.A. to disclose to a school counselor that she had been repeatedly sexually molested by Myers when she was between the ages of 8 and 12. A law enforcement officer assumed C.A.’s identity and began communicating with Myers. These Internet exchanges became very graphic and Myers sent obscene images to C.A.
On Feb. 15, 2013, Myers attempted to entice C.A. to meet him in order to engage in sexual activity during his lunch hour from work. Myers drove to the Joplin mall to pick up C.A. but was met by law enforcement officers who were waiting for him. Myers avoided capture and led police on a high speed car chase through the city of Joplin before being arrested.
During an interview with law enforcement officers, Myers admitted that he had sexually molested three young girls (ages 6, 9 and 11). He also admitted that he secretly recorded a 17-year-old engaging in sexual activity.
Myers also told law enforcement officers that he secretly stored child pornography on his computer. He stated that he had approximately 10 child pornography images of Joplin school district students, four of whom have been identified and range in age from 15 to 16 years old. Myers discovered those images when he accessed the students’ laptop computers.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was investigated by Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Baxter, Kan., Police Department and the FBI.
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."