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Press Release

Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Child Sex Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

Human Trafficking Rescue Project


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Rhode Island man pleaded guilty in federal court today to the attempted sex trafficking of a child.

Thomas O’Brien, 54, of Rhode Island, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to the charge contained in a Dec. 11, 2013, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, O’Brien admitted that he was involved in the sex trafficking of a victim who was under the age of 18 from June 15, 2005, to Aug. 4, 2007. O’Brien also admitted that he compensated two child victims for activities involving numerous sexually explicit webcam sessions.

O’Brien traveled to Kansas City, Mo., in the summer of 2007 to engage in sexual activity with one of the child victims. During that trip, he spent more than $10,000 on various gifts and entertainment for the two child victims and a co-defendant. O’Brien admitted that he engaged in sexual activity with one of the child victims during this trip.

Between 2005 and 2008, O’Brien spent approximately $200,000 in gifts and various cash payments to the two child victims. O’Brien also assisted a co-defendant in rendering sexually explicit high-definition videos into a more Internet-friendly format.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the parties have recommended that O’Brien’s sentence for this offense will run concurrently to a six-year sentence that he is currently serving for a separate federal conviction in the District of Rhode Island.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Daly. It was investigated principally by the FBI and the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.

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.

Updated January 13, 2015