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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hartville Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Porn, Faces at Least 15 Years in Prison

Project Safe Childhood

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Hartville, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to using a minor to produce child pornography.

 

Chelese Penn, 25, of Hartville, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to both counts contained in a Jan. 20, 2015, federal indictment.

 

Penn admitted that she used a minor, identified as Jane Doe #1, to produce child pornography between July 1, 2012, and Oct. 3, 2014. Penn also pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet during that time.

 

Under federal statutes, Penn is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 50 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. 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 James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force.

 

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 June 11, 2015