Missouri man charged with production and possession of child pornography
Joseph Michael Willard, 54, of Missouri, was indicted April 26 for the production and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney William M. McSwain. The indictment alleges that Willard produced and possessed images of minors – including one under age 12 – engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
“The young victims in cases like these are victimized over and over again because the horrific images stay in circulation forever,” U.S. Attorney McSwain said. “We are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to stop child exploitation, which is a national problem.”
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of lifetime incarceration, a mandatory minimum twenty-five years imprisonment, a mandatory minimum five years supervised release up to lifetime supervised release, a $1,750,000 fine, a $35,700 in special assessments.
The case was investigated by the Bethlehem Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri A. Stephan.
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 Attorney’s 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
An Indictment, Information or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.