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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Grain Valley Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography, Sexual Exploitation

While Under Investigation, Arranged to Meet for Sex with Undercover Officer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Grain Valley, Mo., man who was already under investigation for distributing child pornography over the internet pleaded guilty in federal court today to traveling to North Dakota for illicit sex with a 14-year-old child, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer.

Andy Earl Crook, 63, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

FBI agents in Washington executed a search warrant at a residence in that state on Feb. 21, 2018. A review of the suspect’s electronic devices indicated that he had exchanged images and videos of child pornography with others via the internet, including Crook.

On April 5, 2018, Google, Inc. submitted two separate incident reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline reporting that Crook had uploaded and stored possible child pornography images in Google Photos online. An FBI agent, acting in an undercover capacity, communicated with Crook via Kik Messenger. Crook sent images and a video of child pornography to the undercover agent.

On May 4, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Crook’s residence and seized his electronic devices. On Crook’s cell phone, investigators found numerous sexually explicit photos of Crook, 190 images and 13 videos of child pornography (including infants and toddlers), and chat conversations involving child exploitation.

Following the search and seizure, and his interview with an FBI agent, Crook contacted an undercover law enforcement officer in North Dakota, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, on Sept. 1, 2018. Crook’s communication with the undercover officer, via Facebook Messenger and Kik Messenger, became increasingly sexually graphic.

Crook made plans to travel to North Dakota to meet the person whom he believed was a 14-year-old girl, so they could engage in illegal sexual conduct. Crook rented a vehicle and drove to North Dakota for a planned meeting on Sept. 22, 2018. When Crook arrived for the meeting, he was arrested. Officers found multiple sex toys in his vehicle.

Under federal statutes, Crook is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 70 years 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 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 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 25, 2019