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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sex Offender Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison for 'Sex Tourism,' Victimized Five Filipino Children

Project Safe Childhood

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender was sentenced in federal court today for sexually abusing five separate child victims in the Philippines.

 

“This sexual predator abused an untold number of young children,” Dickinson said. “Today’s tough sentence ensures the public – and more importantly, his victims – that he will never be released from prison. A lengthy sentence also sends an unmistakable message about the consequences for committing such a monstrous crime against the most vulnerable members of society.

 

“He thought he could move to another country to escape the legal repercussions of his actions,” Dickinson added, “but he was not beyond the reach of justice.”

 

Kenneth Gaylord Stokes, 71, a U.S. citizen who resided near the city of Cebu in the Philippines, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 120 years in federal prison without parole.

 

“Child sex predators should take special note of this significant conviction,” said Deputy Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago.  “HSI is committed to stopping the exploitation of children and has dedicated vast resources to investigate these types of crimes. HSI will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies and will never stop pursuing those who harm children.”

 

On Jan. 27, 2015, Stokes pleaded guilty to five counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. Stokes was arrested at his Philippines residence on Dec. 3, 2012, and deported to the United States. He has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest. Stokes has a prior conviction for raping a 7-year-old child in the state of Washington.

 

In July 2012, a federal agent located a Craigslist advertisement from Stokes that offered photography services in the Philippines. Stokes and the agent communicated via e-mail for several months, during which time Stokes e-mailed to the agent photos of juvenile females, some of whom were in sexually explicit poses.

 

According to court documents, Stokes told the undercover agent during the exchange of e-mails that he had “no limits” on taking videos or photographs and that he had married a Filipino woman “to get to her daughter” and later made her “disappear.” Stokes indicated in one e-mail that the undercover agent could “have any preteen” he wanted in the Philippines.

 

The agent expressed his interest in meeting Stokes, who encouraged the agent to visit and indicated that he would help facilitate sexual liaisons with both his own wife and Filipino children.

 

According to court documents, the Deputy Attaché in the Philippines indicated that Stokes had been confronted by local authorities in 2012 after he reportedly molested a juvenile female and took explicit photographs of her. Apparently, no action was taken by those authorities.

 

On Dec. 3, 2012 the agent met Stokes at his residence in the Philippines. Stokes explained that he planned to take the agent to two different locations where he would be able to find children to sexually victimize, according to court documents. Stokes also expressed his desire for the agent to impregnate his wife in hopes that he would later be able to use the child for sexual purposes. Stokes explained that his wife would not consent to having sex with the undercover agent and encouraged him to rape her.

 

Stokes also bragged that he had taken thousands of images depicting child pornography, according to court documents, and indicated that people in other countries paid him to produce made-to-order child pornography. Stokes later told investigators that he had produced child pornography for multiple individuals and sold collections of child pornography for as much as $1,250. One such collection has been discovered in other investigations.

 

Stokes showed the undercover agent multiple images of child pornography on his laptop computer. The undercover agent left the house and returned with local law enforcement officers to arrest Stokes.

 

Investigators seized Stokes’s computers and conducted a forensic examination. They were able to determine the identities of five minor females (identified as Jane Doe #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5) who later told law enforcement officers that Stokes paid them to pose for the sexually explicit photos. Investigators found thousands of pictures and video recordings depicting child pornography on Stokes’s computers, as well as a script for a movie depicting the sexual and physical abuse of a child.

 

This case was 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 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."

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated August 4, 2015