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Press Release

Springfield Bus Driver Sentenced to 17 Years for Child Sexual Exploitation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for taking sexually explicit photos of a young child and sharing the images in an internet chat group.

Gordon Wesley Roughton II, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Thursday, Oct. 12, to 17 years in federal prison without parole.

On Sept. 22, 2022, Roughton pleaded guilty to the sexual exploitation of a minor. At the time of his arrest, Roughton was employed as a seasonal bus driver for a children’s program for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, as he had been every summer from 2014 to 2019. Roughton also had been employed as a substitute teacher at schools in the Springfield area, and in the past had worked as a bus driver for Springfield Public School District and a Springfield Catholic school.

The investigation began on June 15, 2021, when a detective with the Springfield, Mo., Police Department received a CyberTip Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. MeWe, a social media and social networking service, had discovered images of child pornography uploaded by Roughton.

On June 16, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Roughton’s residence. Roughton admitted he had participated in a chat group on MeWe where the group members traded child pornography. Roughton explained that he had no images of child pornography to trade and needed some to remain in the chat. Roughton took photos of the child victim to trade in the chat group and uploaded the images to MeWe.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

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 . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Updated October 13, 2023

Project Safe Childhood