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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stella Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting a Minor for Illicit Sex

Project Safe Childhood

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Stella, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to transporting a minor across state lines for illicit sex.

Tong Yang, 45, of Stella, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a Jan. 21, 2014, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Yang admitted that he traveled to Minnesota on Dec. 7, 2013, to pick up a 15-year-old girl and bring her back to Missouri with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity.

Yang had contacted the minor victim a couple of weeks earlier by sending her a friend request on Facebook. Yang talked to her about coming to live with him in Missouri and told her he owned his own business. The minor victim went to her mother’s house to retrieve some clothing on Dec. 6, 2013, and while there, she asked Yang to come get her. She snuck out and met with Yang in front of her mother’s house the next day, and they drove to a hotel in Neosho, Mo., where they engaged in unprotected sex.

Under federal statutes, Yang is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million. 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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Cassville, Mo., Police Department and the Neosho, 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 15, 2015