News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

columbia man pleads guilty to attempted
sexual exploitation of a minor

October 19, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to sexually exploit a minor by manufacturing child pornography.

John Steven Green, 28, of Columbia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to the charge contained in an Oct. 13, 2009, federal indictment.

Green admitted that he engaged in Internet chat conversations from April 22, 2008, to May 23, 2008, with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl named Candy who lived in Carthage, Mo. In reality, “Candy” was a detective with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department who was conducting an undercover operation. In the chat discussions, Green described his desire to meet Candy and have sex with her. Green also described how he would like to film their sexual encounter. On three occasions, Green transmitted nude images of himself; he also encouraged Candy to purchase a webcam so she could send similar images of herself to him.

On May 23, 2008, Green traveled to Carthage to meet Candy at a motel, where he was arrested. Green had a webcam that he intended to use to record the sexual encounter, and another webcam that he intended to give to Candy to use during future online chats. Law enforcement officers also seized Green’s laptop computer from the motel room. A forensic examination of the computer found that Green had 19 videos of child pornography and 116 images of child pornography saved on the computer.

Green has a prior state conviction for child endangerment as a result of contacting a 16-year-old minor over the Internet and meeting her to have sex at his residence. Green, who was 21 years old at the time, received a suspended imposition of sentence and two years of probation for that offense. Under federal statutes, Green is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of either 15 years or 25 years in federal prison without parole, depending on how the court applies his prior conviction. The maximum penalty is not more than 30 years or 50 years in federal prison without parole, depending on how the court applies his prior conviction. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

By pleading guilty today, Green also agreed to forfeit to the government a laptop computer, a thumb drive and two webcams, all of which were used to commit the offense.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department and the Alma, Mich., Police Department.

Project Safe Childhood

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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