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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ozark Man Indicted 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 indicted by a federal grand jury today for using two minors to produce child pornography.

Dennis Lee Whitaker, 53, of Ozark, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo.

Today’s indictment alleges that Whitaker 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. Each count, upon conviction, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 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 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 16, 2015