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Press Release

Joplin Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Sexual Exploitation

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Gary Stewart, 37, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 15 years in federal prison without parole.

On May 21, 2018, Stewart pleaded guilty to enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography.

According to court documents, an individual contacted the Joplin, Mo., Police Department on Dec. 27, 2016, regarding sexually explicit photographs being exchanged between his 16-year-old daughter and Stewart. The daughter was interviewed and said she and Stewart had engaged in sexual activity on several occasions. She also informed the interviewer that she and Stewart communicated via text messages, and that he asked her to send sexually explicit images of herself, which she did. Stewart also sent sexually explicit photos of himself to the victim.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes 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 . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Updated October 5, 2018

Project Safe Childhood