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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Iowa Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Online Harassment of MO Teen

Faces 15 Years in Prison for Attempted Production of Child Pornography

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Corydon, Iowa, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to produce child pornography following his online harassment of a Calloway County, Mo., teenager over five years.

David Jonathon Dodds, 60, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to one count of attempting to produce child pornography. Dodds is a registered sex offender due to his conviction for the exhibition of obscene materials to minors. His sex offense conviction occurred after the conduct in this federal case.

By pleading guilty today, Dodds admitted that he initially contacted the child victim through her Instagram account when she was 13 years old, and continued contacting her through Facebook Messenger and her cell phone until she was 18 years old. Her father contacted the Calloway County Sheriff’s Department in February 2020 to report that his 18-year-old daughter had been the victim of harassment and sexual enticement for several years.

After Dodds contacted the child victim through Instagram, his behavior escalated to messaging her numerous times a day and sending her pornographic images of himself. Dodds also asked her to send nude photographs of herself, and the child victim sent several nude photos of herself in 2015, when she was 14 years old.

The child victim told investigators she became uncomfortable with the ongoing conversations with Dodds and attempted to cut off communications. He became agitated with her and he began threatening to text her parents or friends if she didn’t communicate with him. Dodds messaged her parents and left three voicemail messages on her boyfriend’s phone telling him she had been cheating on both of them. The child victim told investigators she began hiding in photos taken with friends or family that may end up on social media to avoid being seen. She began receiving contact on Facebook Messenger and her cell phone. She turned off her cell phone for durations to avoid any contact.

The child victim reported this continued harassment led to significant anxiety and caused her to quit several jobs. It became apparent that Dodds was monitoring her parents’ public posts on Facebook, harassing her about going to prom or noting how they had been at Wal-Mart looking for her. His behavior caused her to trade cell phones and delete Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The child victim eventually disclosed the harassment to her family, who contacted law enforcement.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government and Dodds will jointly recommend a sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole. 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 Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by the Callaway County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and 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 September 29, 2022