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Press Release

Jury Convicts Missouri Man After Undercover Sex Sting

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Kansas

TOPEKA, KAN.– A federal jury convicted a Missouri man on one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, after he was arrested in an undercover operation. 

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Steven E. Spradley, 58, of Kansas City, Missouri, traveled from Jackson County, Missouri, to Osage County, Kansas, in July 2021 to have sex with whom he believed to be a 17-year-old girl he met online. Spradley was actually communicating with an investigator from the Osage County Sheriff’s Office posing as a minor. The Osage County Sheriff’s Office is part of the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Spradley faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

“While child predators have long been a threat, the internet has greatly extended their reach to seek out victims,” said U.S. Attorney Kate E. Brubacher. “As these criminals scour for opportunities to prey on our young people, I applaud law enforcement officers for their proactive approach to catching these criminals and hopefully put them behind bars before a child falls victim.”

“This conviction holds Mr. Spradley accountable for his shameful and predatory actions. It underscores our continued commitment to have our children grow up without fear of exploitation and the importance of our state and local law enforcement partnerships in stopping those who attempt to harm the most vulnerable in our community,” said Charles Dayoub, FBI Kansas City Special Agent in Charge.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation  (FBI) are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Walton and Stephen Hunting are prosecuting the case.

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."

Updated June 13, 2023

Project Safe Childhood