News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

carthage man sentenced to life in prison
for sexual exploitation of a child

December 20, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Carthage, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for the sexual exploitation of a child.

Todd Christopher Smith, 41, of Carthage, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to life in federal prison without parole. Smith was sentenced as a repeat and dangerous sex offender against minors based on his prior convictions for sexual misconduct in the first degree in Missouri and criminal sexual abuse in Illinois (both convictions involved minor victims).

On Aug. 17, 2012, Smith was found guilty of using a minor to create child pornography.

Officers with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department responded to Smith’s residence on Sept. 27, 2011, after receiving a report that he had slapped a minor female. In the course of their investigation, officers found evidence of Smith’s sexual abuse of several child victims. Officers discovered six videos on Smith’s cell phone that depicted Smith engaged in sex with the child victim. There were also 12 videos that appear to have been taken covertly in the bathrooms in Smith’s residence that depict the child victim as well as five other minors.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

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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