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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Former St. Joseph Scout Leader Charged with Distributing Child Pornography

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former St. Joseph, Mo., Boy Scout leader has been charged in federal court with distributing child pornography over the Internet.

Michael R. Goeller, 45, of St. Joseph, was charged in a criminal complaint filed under seal in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2017. The complaint was unsealed and made public following Goeller’s arrest on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Goeller remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, the investigation began on Feb. 15, 2017, when a law enforcement officer in Arkansas downloaded a video file that contained child pornography through a peer-to-peer file-sharing network that was later linked to Goeller’s computer.

On Sept. 20, 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Goeller’s apartment and seized a laptop computer and other digital electronic devices and digital media storage devices. A full forensic digital examination of the devices seized from Goeller is pending, the affidavit says, but a digital forensic preview tool was utilized on the laptop and indicated at least 10 images of child pornography and other files names with terms associated with child pornography.

After the completion of the search warrant, the affidavit says, investigators learned that Goeller had made contact with a local priest to confess to child pornography having been found on his computer. Goeller also immediately resigned as an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America due to his interaction with this criminal investigation.
Larson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Luna. It was investigated by the FBI.

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."

Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 26, 2017