News and Press Releases

joplin college student sentenced to 15 years for attempting
to produce child porn

June 22, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting three minors in an attempt to produce child pornography.

Harry Sneed, 20, of St. Louis, Mo., a student at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to 15 years in federal prison without parole.

Sneed pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually exploiting children. Sneed admitted that he sent a series of e-mail messages to three 11-year-old minors, urging them to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves. Sneed portrayed himself as a 14-year-old girl who belonged to a “secret modeling agency,” and promised the victims they could earn a lot of money working for the agency. Sneed also admitted that he sent images of child pornography to the victims. None of the victims complied with Sneed’s requests.

Joplin police officers arrested Sneed at his dormitory room on March 18, 2010. Investigators searched his computer and found hundreds of photo and video files of child pornography.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the St. Louis County, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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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