News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

former youth camp worker sentenced to 20 years
for sexual exploitation of children

June 13, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mo – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former YMCA camp employee has been sentenced in federal court for sexually exploiting children.

Matthew O’Dell, 29, of Springfield, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 to 20 years in federal prison without parole. O’Dell, who was formerly employed at YMCA=s Camp Wakonda in Lawrence County, Mo., will spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration.

O’Dell pleaded guilty on May 23, 2012. He admitted that he made a video recording of a 13-year-old minor, identified as “W.L.,” between Jan. 1, 2005, and May 30, 2006. The video, which was recorded at O’Dell’s residence, depicts W.L. engaged in sexually explicit conduct. On Aug. 4, 2009, Springfield police officers executed a search warrant upon a storage facility in which O’Dell had placed his belongings. The officers located a digital video tape containing the video recording of W.L.

Additionally, the court heard testimony concerning multiple individuals allegedly victimized by O’Dell prior to imposing the sentence upon O’Dell.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Springfield, 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."

Return to Top

Stay Connected: Visit us on Facebook or Twitter

Facebook Twitter
Justice 101
Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Project Ceasefire

Our commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Red Ribbon Week October 23-31
Community Outreach

Giving Back to the Community through a variety of venues & initatives.

Weed and Seed

Read about our programs to "Weed" out crime and "Seed" positive resources