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Justice News

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

North Carolina Man Charged with Sexual Exploitation of Joplin-Area Child

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a North Carolina man has been charged in federal court with sexually assaulting a Joplin, Mo., area child in order to produce child pornography.


David Lee Perkins, 33, of North Carolina, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Perkins remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.


According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, police officers were dispatched to a Joplin hotel where Perkins was staying on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Officers met a woman at the hotel who showed them an iPad that contained videos of Perkins molesting an 11-year-old victim, identified in court documents as “Jane Doe.” She told officers that she looked through the iPad while Perkins was out in the parking lot with Jane Doe and another minor, and discovered three videos of Perkins sexually abusing Jane Doe.


Officers entered Perkins’s hotel room and placed Perkins under arrest for child molestation. In an interview the following day, the affidavit says, Perkins told an officer that he had been sexually abusing Jane Doe for approximately one year, in various hotels and motels in Joplin. Perkins stated he used his iPad and iPhone to photograph and create videos of the sexual abuse.


According to the affidavit, investigators found three videos on Perkins’s iPad that depict Perkins engaged in sexually explicit conduct with Jane Doe.


Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge 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 Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police 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 . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Project Safe Childhood
Updated December 13, 2016