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Press Release

KC Woman Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Two Child Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Husband Also Admitted to Exploitation of Third Child Victim

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to the sexual exploitation of two child victims.

Jessica Ann Young, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to two counts of the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Her husband, Houston Wade Young, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of the sexual exploitation of a minor on Jan. 30, 2024.

According to today’s plea agreement, Houston Young, while detained at the Vernon County, Mo., jail on March 5, 2020, was found to be in possession of a cell phone that contained images of child pornography. On March 7, 2020, law enforcement officers received information that Jessica Young had sent pornographic images of a 7-year-old child (identified in court documents as “John Doe 1”) to Houston Young’s cell phone.

Investigators found text messages on the cell phone between Jessica and Houston Young that discussed sexually abusing John Doe 1. During the text messages, Jessica Young sent Houston Young two pornographic images of John Doe 1. Multiple other images of child pornography sent by Jessica Young also were found on Houston Young’s cell phone.

Jessica Young admitted she had sexually abused two child victims, John Doe 1 and 13-year-old John Doe 2, on multiple occasions at a residence in Clay County, Mo. Jessica Young also admitted that she had recorded video of herself sexually abusing John Doe 2.

A forensic analysis of Houston Young’s cell phone also determined that he sent images of child pornography to Jessica Young and a 16-year-old child victim (identified in court documents as “Jane Doe”). Houston Young sent pornographic images of himself to Jane Doe, solicited child pornographic images of her that she sent to him, and engaged in sexual conversations. Jane Doe told investigators she met Houston Young on a game room chat, League of Legends, and started talking via that forum. They communicated via text, the Kik and Whatsapp applications, and video chat.

Houston Young has two prior felony convictions related to the sexual exploitation of children. He was convicted of child molestation in Wright County, Mo., in 2005 and of possessing child pornography in Jackson County, Mo., in 2016.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the state has agreed to dismiss charges against Jessica Young of statutory rape and statutory sodomy in Clay County Circuit Court after she has been sentenced in federal court.

Under federal statutes, Jessica Young is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, on each of the two counts. Due to his prior convictions, Houston Young is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as 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 Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI, the Vernon County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Kentucky Department of Criminal Investigations.

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 March 11, 2024

Project Safe Childhood