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Press Release

Former State Trooper Sentenced for Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former Missouri state trooper was sentenced in federal court today for transmitting sexually explicit photos of a teenage victim.

Justin Watson, 47, of Mountain View, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to seven years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Watson to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.

Watson was employed as a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol from July 1996 until he was dismissed in October 2017. He also worked as a high school baseball umpire in the Mountain View-Birch Tree School District.

On May 29, 2018, Watson pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography. Watson admitted he took several sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old juvenile. The photographs were taken using the victim’s iPhone; Watson then transmitted the images of child pornography to his own cell phone.

Watson also has been charged in Howell County Circuit Court with four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of sexual contact with a student.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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."

Updated October 9, 2018

Project Safe Childhood