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Child Exploitation

Missouri college student indicted for attempting to produce child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A local college student, who is accused of sexually exploiting three minors and attempting to produce child pornography, was indicted in federal court Wednesday. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Harry Sneed, 19, of St. Louis, Mo., was charged May 12 in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. Sneed, a student at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo., is charged with sexually exploiting three minors in an attempt to produce child pornography.

According to the indictment, Sneed allegedly attempted to use three girls to produce child pornography between Jan. 24 and March 17.

The federal indictment also alleges that Sneed received and distributed child pornography over the Internet between April 1 and March 17, 2010, and that he possessed child pornography during that time.

Also contained in the indictment is a forfeiture allegation that would require Sneed to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including a laptop computer, an Olympus D380 digital camera, and five USB computer flash drives.

ICE was assisted in the investigation by the Joplin Police Department, the St. Louis County, Mo., Police Department, and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

"ICE has a responsibility to investigate individuals who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said Michael Spinella, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Springfield. "ICE remains committed to investigating these child predators and bringing them to justice."

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher, Western District of Missouri, is prosecuting this case.