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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 28, 2022

Former Youth Director at Fort Leonard Wood Sentenced to 30 Years for Child Sexual Abuse

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

David J. McKay, 43, of Waynesville, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced McKay to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration.

On April 29, 2021, McKay pleaded guilty 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.

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. 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.

This case was 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 October 28, 2022