SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nevada, Mo., man who is a registered sex offender pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.
David Lee Knowles, 55, of Nevada, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in an April 2, 2013, federal indictment. Knowles is a registered sex offender as a result of his 1997 conviction for sexual assault.
By pleading guilty today, Knowles admitted that he received and distributed child pornography between May 31, 2012, and Jan. 3, 2013. A law enforcement officer was conducting an undercover investigation into the distribution of child pornography with peer-to-peer, file-sharing networks. Knowles’s computer was identified as sharing videos of child pornography over the Internet.
Knowles must forfeit to the government any property used to commit the offense, including an iPad2, a desktop computer, an iPhone and an external hard drive.
Under federal statutes, Knowles is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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 Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.
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."