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registered sex offender sentenced for child porn

April 18, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender in Springfield, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today for receiving child pornography over the Internet.

Austin Wayne Ploof, 35, of Springfield, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Ploof is a registered sex offender with a 2004 felony conviction in the state of Kansas for the sexual exploitation of a child.

On Dec. 15, 2011, Ploof pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. According to his plea agreement, Ploof’s girlfriend discovered the child pornography and alerted law enforcement.

Ploof’s girlfriend woke up early on the morning of June 29, 2011, the plea agreement says, and went to check on their young child when she noticed Ploof was still on the computer. She said when she walked by him he closed the computer window he was viewing suddenly as if hiding something. When she woke up a few hours later, Ploof was asleep in bed and she noticed he had left his USB flash drive in the laptop computer. She decided to look at its contents and saw file icons that appeared to be child pornography. She left the home with the computer, the flash drive, and her children. Later that day, she went to the Greene County Sheriff's Office to file a report and turn the computer and flash drive in as evidence.

Investigators examined the USB drive and found eight videos and eight images of child pornography involving children from approximately three years old to teenagers.

This was being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. 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."

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