Tulsa Man Convicted for Child Pornography, Enticing Minors and Trying to Hide His Crimes
TULSA, Okla. – A 28-year-old Tulsa man pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to distribution of child pornography, enticing a minor and tampering with a witness and evidence, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
In his plea agreement, Levi William Welker admitted that in February 2016 he shared child pornography using a bit torrent file sharing network. Investigators initially discovered 68 images on a torrent file which was traced to Welker’s IP address. During a search, investigators located more than 6,200 image and video files of child pornography.
Welker also admitted that he later used multiple social media apps and communications devices to manipulate and lure two minor children to engage in sexual activity with him. Welker pretended to be 16 years old and provided the victims with cell phones in order to secretly communicate. When one of the children’s parents became suspicious, they reported Welker to the Tulsa Police Department. After the investigation commenced, police discovered that Welker messaged one of the victim’s social media accounts, asking her to lie to police and destroy evidence. He also destroyed other digital evidence in an effort to thwart the investigation.
“Levi Welker criminally exploited the trusting nature of children to fulfill his perverse sexual gratifications. He groomed and manipulated young victims using nearly a dozen different phone apps to share sexually explicit photographs,” said U.S. Attorney Shores. “Welker attempted to hide his crimes by remotely deleting evidence from his phone. Thanks to the watchful eye of concerned parents and the dedicated work of law enforcement, Welker’s heinous acts were revealed.”
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan accepted Welker’s guilty plea and set sentencing for May 30, 2019. At that time, he faces a stipulated sentencing range of 200 to 240 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Welker remains in custody while awaiting sentencing.
The FBI and Tulsa Police Department investigated these crimes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Nassar is prosecuting the case.
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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.