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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2022

West Des Moines Man Charged for Sexually Exploiting and Enticing Numerous Minors

DES MOINES, IOWA – A federal grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment on July 20, 2022, charging a West Des Moines man with exploiting minors to produce child pornography and attempting to entice and persuade other minors to do the same thing.

According to court documents, Jonathan Francis Speidel, age 30, used the social media application Snapchat to manipulate and entice numerous children to produce child pornography for him. Speidel had multiple Snapchat usernames, including “Letssbang” and “SD_Backupacct.”

Speidel is charged with twenty-eight crimes, including seven counts of Sexual Exploitation and Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, eight counts of Enticement and Attempted Enticement of a Minor, four counts of Transportation of Child Pornography, five counts of Receipt of Child Pornography, one count of Possession of Child Pornography, and three counts of Transfer and Attempted Transfer of Obscene Material to a Minor.

Speidel has been ordered to remain in custody until his trial or sentencing. If convicted, Speidel faces a mandatory minimum fifteen-year prison sentence and a maximum penalty of life in prison.

If you have information relevant to this investigation, please contact JSpeidel@fbi.gov, an email account dedicated to identifying possible victims.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the North Olmsted (Ohio) Police Department, and the Gladstone (Oregon) Police Department. The investigation remains ongoing.

U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Essley is prosecuting the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
MacKenzie Tubbs 515-473-9300 USAIAS.PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated July 21, 2022