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Press Release

Montgomery County Man Pleads Guilty To Sexually Exploiting Minors

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

WICHITA, KAN. - A Cherryvale, Kan., man pleaded guilty today to federal charges of sexually exploiting minors, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Austin Ballew, 21, Cherryvale, Kan., pleaded guilty to five counts of sexually exploiting a child and three counts of sex trafficking of a minor. In his plea, Ballew admitted he used Facebook to pose as an African-American teenager or young man to communicate with minor females in southeast Kansas towns. An investigation began when a victim’s parents contacted the Independence (Kansas) Police Department. Investigators learned that Ballew, calling himself Deandre Johnson, was soliciting other minor females for sex acts and child pornography.

Ballew offered victims money and marijuana to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves. He also threatened victims that he would make their videos public unless they kept cooperating with him.

Sentencing is set for March 23. The parties have agreed to ask the court for a sentence somewhere in a range of 15 years to 25 years in federal prison. McAllister commended the Independence Police Department, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart for their work on the case.

Updated December 17, 2019

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