SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former member of the Sarcoxie, Mo., school board pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing child pornography.
John R. Lewis, 68, of Sarcoxie, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a Feb. 28, 2014, federal indictment.
According to court documents, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers contacted Lewis as part of their investigation into allegations that he had exposed himself to a group of high school students who were working for Lewis on his farm outside of Sarcoxie. The troopers obtained a search warrant for Lewis’s residence and seized two desktop computers, a laptop computer and electronic storage devices.
Investigators determined that the computers contained 19 multimedia files of child pornography and 113 images of suspected child pornography. The multimedia files and images depicted children as young as five years old.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Lewis will be sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole followed by 10 years of supervised release. 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 Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and the FBI.
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."