Skip to main content
Press Release

Sanford Missionary Sentenced To 58 Years For Production Of Child Pornography

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

Orlando, Florida –Chief U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway today sentenced Warren Scott Kennell (45) to 58 years in federal prison for producing child pornography. Kennell previously pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography. During today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Conway said that Kennell had abused his position of trust as a missionary. 

According to court documents, on May 31, 2013, Kennell arrived at Orlando International Airport on inbound Copa Airlines Flight #446, from Panama City, Panama. After retrieving his luggage, he was escorted to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) secondary inspection area.

After Kennell was seated, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent searched Kennell's belongings and found three thumb drives and one external hard drive. These items were given to computer forensic agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) who were present to help with the search. The FDLE agents conducted a forensic preview of the thumb drives and the external hard drive. During an interview with law enforcement officials, Kennell said that he had worked as a missionary in Brazil for the New Tribes Mission, in Sanford, Florida. He also stated that he had been doing missionary work for several years. Kennell told the agents that he had never touched a child in a sexual and/or inappropriate manner, that he had never taken pornographic images of a child, and that there would be no child pornography found on any of the items in his luggage. After Kennell made these statements, FDLE computer forensic agents advised HSI agents that two images of child pornography had been found on Kennell's external hard drive.

When shown the first image, Kennell acknowledged that he was the man in the picture performing a sex act on the prepubescent female. He stated that he believed the girl was about 12 years old at the time the picture was taken. When shown a second image, Kennell admitted that he had taken that picture and that the girl in that image had also been about 12 years of age, at the time. Kennell further admitted that both images had been taken in Brazil while he was on the missionary assignment.

Kennell admitted that he had sexually abused children while in Brazil. He stated that he had taken pornographic pictures of the children, and that the pictures would be found on the external hard drive. The forensic examination of the external hard drive showed more than 940 images of child pornography. The child victims are members of an indigenous tribe in the Amazon, where Kennell was setting up a church. While setting up the church, Kennell befriended these victims and sexually abused them. 

“Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Cyber/High-Tech Computer Crime Squads work aggressively to take these dangerous perpetrators off our streets,” said FDLE Orlando Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks.  “Working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we will do everything we can to protect the children victimized by child pornography and other crimes.”

“Kennell represents the worst kind of criminal – one that preys on innocent children,” said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa, which oversees the agency’s Orlando office that investigated this case. “We cannot take back the abuse that these children endured, but this sentence ensures Kennell won’t have the opportunity to abuse another child.”

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Davis Wilson.

It is another 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 (CEOS), 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

Updated January 26, 2015