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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 4, 2016

Springfield Sex Offender Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Porn

Project Safe Childhood

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender in Springfield, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today for receiving and distributing child pornography.

 

Gary Thomas Sheldon, 52, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Sheldon to serve the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration.

 

On Nov. 9, 2015, Sheldon pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet. Sheldon, a registered sex offender, was previously convicted in federal court of possessing child pornography in January 2001.

 

According to court documents, law enforcement officers received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had received the tip from an adult pornography Web site where Sheldon had uploaded an image of child pornography. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Sheldon’s residence on July 15, 2015. Sheldon’s desktop computer and cell phone were seized, and investigators discovered images of child pornography on both devices.

 

Sheldon admitted to law enforcement officers that he downloaded at least 100 images of child pornography over the Internet. He also admitted that he had two e-mail addresses and a Facebook account he had not reported on his sex offender registry, although he was required to do so.

 

While this offense was occurring, according to court documents, Sheldon was on probation for failing to register as a sex offender.

 

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southwest Missouri Cybercrime Task Force.

 

 

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: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 4, 2016