KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Rhode Island man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for his participation with a Kansas City, Mo., man in child sex trafficking and producing child pornography as part of a scheme that generated more than $200,000 over a three-year period.
Thomas O’Brien, 53, of Rhode Island, was charged with Michael Dye, 46, of Kansas City, Mo., in an eight-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City. Today’s superseding indictment replaces the original indictment returned on July 16, 2013, and adds O’Brien as a defendant along with new charges.
The federal indictment charges O’Brien and Dye together in two separate counts of producing child pornography. O’Brien and Dye allegedly victimized two minors, identified as Child Victim #1 and Child Victim #2, to produce child pornography between June 15, 2005 and Aug. 18, 2008.
The indictment also charges O’Brien and Dye each with one count of the attempted sex trafficking of Child Victim #2 between June 15, 2005 and Aug. 4, 2007.
O’Brien is charged with one count of traveling across state lines (from Rhode Island to Missouri) with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity with Child Victim #2 between July 29, 2007, and Aug. 4, 2007.
Dye is charged with two counts of selling child pornography related to each of the two child victims. Dye is also charged with one count of grooming Child Victim #1 to participate in illegal activity (the production of child pornography).
The court granted the government’s motion to detain Dye in federal custody without bail after his arrest on July 17, 2013. According to the government’s detention motion, Dye’s actions giving rise to these charges include his active and repeated sexual intercourse with the minor females, his production and sale of child pornography of the two minor females and violent threats against at least one minor female should she ever inform anyone else of these incidents.
Dye allegedly profited extensively from the serial sexual exploitation of at least two minor females. In the course of this investigation, the detention motion says, the government developed evidence that Dye used the minor females to produce child pornography for various customers. Dye allegedly exploited the two minor females to O’Brien, who – in exchange for multiple images and videos of child pornography and access to them for sexual favors – paid the two minor females a “weekly allowance” as well as gifts in the form of multiple vehicles, remodeling projects at Dye’s home, various appliances, and other cash payments in a total amount estimated up to $200,000 over a three-year period.
Under federal statutes, O’Brien and Dye each face a potential life imprisonment upon conviction of the sex trafficking counts, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years on each count. Each of the two counts for the production of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole. The counts for the sale of child pornography and for grooming a minor each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole. Traveling across state lines for illicit sexual activity carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison without parole.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Daly. It was investigated principally by the FBI.Additional assistance was provided by the following agencies: The Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Clay County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Platte County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Newport, R.I., Police Department, the Rhode Island State Police, the Winnipeg, Manitoba Police Service in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Crown’s Attorney’s Office in Canada and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the United Kingdom.