SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a member of the Sarcoxie, Mo., school board was charged in federal court today with possessing child pornography.
John R. Lewis, 67, of Sarcoxie, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield with possessing child pornography. Lewis was arrested without incident prior to Thursday night’s school board meeting and remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.
According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s federal criminal complaint, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers contacted Lewis as part of their investigation into allegations that he had exposed himself to a group of high school students who were working for Lewis on his farm outside of Sarcoxie. The troopers obtained a search warrant for Lewis’s residence and seized two desktop computers, a laptop computer and electronic storage devices.
Investigators determined that the computers contained 19 multimedia files of child pornography and 113 images of suspected child pornography. The multimedia files and images depicted children as young as five years old.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes 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 www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."