SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender was indicted by a federal grand jury today for producing child pornography with five child victims in the Philippines and for distributing child pornography over the Internet.
Kenneth Gaylord Stokes, 68, a U.S. citizen who resided near the city of Cebu in the Philippines, was charged in a seven-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal indictment that was returned under seal on Nov. 7, 2012 and contains five additional counts of traveling overseas to engage in illicit sexual conduct (the production of child pornography).
The original indictment was unsealed on March 4, 2013, when Stokes was transported to the U.S. District Court in Springfield for his initial appearance. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Dec. 3, 2012 and is being held without bond. Stokes has a prior conviction for the statutory rape of a 7-year-old child in the state of Washington.
According to court documents, a federal agent located a Craigslist advertisement offering photography services in the Philippines in July 2012. Given the nature of the advertisement, the agent suspected that Stokes was actually engaged in illegal activities involving child pornography. The agent later exchanged messages via e-mail in which Stokes allegedly asserted that he had married a Filipino woman to get to her daughter and that he had “no limits” in terms of his photography services.
On July 10 and July 26, 2012, according to court documents, Stokes sent the agent e-mails containing photographs of child pornography.
On Dec. 3, 2012 the agent met Stokes at his residence in the Philippines. Stokes, who allegedly told the agent that he sexually abused many prepubescent children, was arrested.
A forensic examination of Stokes’ computer is ongoing. In a motion filed with the court, the government asserts that the preliminary examination suggests that Stokes used child victims to produce a large quantity of movies and images of child pornography.
Today’s indictment maintains the original charges against Stokes, who was charged in the original indictment with two counts of distributing child pornography over the Internet to Greene County, Mo., on two separate occasions in July 2012.
Stokes is also now charged with five additional counts of traveling overseas to produce child pornography. Between Sept. 26, 2009, and Dec. 3, 2012, Stokes allegedly used five separate child victims (identified as Jane Doe #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5) to produce child pornography.
Under federal statutes, today’s charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in federal prison without parole for each count of distributing child pornography (due to Stokes’ prior sex offense), up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole for each count. Each of the five counts of traveling overseas to engage in illicit sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in federal prison without parole.
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 Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Project Safe ChildhoodThis 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."