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Justice News

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ozark Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Child Sexual Exploitation

Project Safe Childhood


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Ozark, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for using two minors to produce child pornography.

Dennis Lee Whitaker, 54, of Ozark, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Whitaker to a life term of supervision following his release from prison.

On May 21, 2014, Whitaker pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually exploiting a minor in order to produce child pornography. Whitaker admitted that he used two minors, identified as “Jane Doe” and “John Doe,” to produce child pornography between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2013, in Stone and Taney counties.

Whitaker also faces state charges – two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child, two counts of child molestation and one count of statutory sodomy – related to the sexual exploitation of these victims.

On Jan. 10, 2013, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Whitaker’s residence. They seized three desktop computers, a laptop computer, a webcam and various computer equipment and electronic media storage devices. Investigators found sexually explicit images of the victims on the electronic media.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Stone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Ozark, Mo., Police Department.

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."
Updated January 13, 2015