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Justice News

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

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Former St. Joseph Scout Leader Sentenced for Distributing Child Pornography

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A former St. Joseph, Mo., Boy Scout leader was sentenced in federal court today for distributing child pornography over the internet.

Michael R. Goeller, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to six years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Goeller to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.

Goeller, who pleaded guilty on Oct. 31, 2018, served as an assistant scout master with the Boy Scouts of America at the time of his arrest. In 2005, Goeller was employed as a counselor by the Marillac Center of Kansas City, a facility that provides youth services and community outreach. He was also previously employed as a counselor at the Family Guidance Center in St. Joseph, working with at risk youth.

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. Goeller admitted to officers that he used his laptop to access pornographic websites to obtain images and videos of nude children, ranging from 10 to 15 years old.

Investigators conducted a forensic examination of the devices seized from Goeller and found approximately 60 images and more than 60 videos of child pornography. Investigators also determined that Goeller was a distributor of child pornography who knowingly shared images and videos with others by utilizing a file-sharing network.

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.
This case was 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 April 18, 2019