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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Former Youth Director at Fort Leonard Wood Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Abuse

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former soldier in the Army National Guard pleaded guilty in federal court today to sexually abusing four minors over several years while he was director of the youth ministry at Fort Leonard Wood U.S. Army Base.

David J. McKay, 42, of Waynesville, Missouri, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of transporting a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and four counts of sexually abusing a minor.

McKay, at the time an Army National Guard First Sergeant, was the youth ministry director for the Religious Services Office at Fort Leonard Wood. McKay is not currently serving as a member of the National Guard. By pleading guilty today, McKay admitted that he sexually abused four victims, ranging in age from 11 to 17 years old, on dozens of occasions from 2010 to 2017.

According to today’s plea agreement, the sexual abuse occurred at Fort Leonard Wood and various other locations within Pulaski County, Mo. The victims also reported being abused during the youth group’s ski trips to Colorado and on camping trips at Fort Leonard Wood.

Under federal statutes, McKay is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command at the Fort Leonard Wood Army Base, the Pulaski County, Mo., Prosecutor’s Office, and the Waynesville, Mo., Police Department.

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 www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 30, 2021