SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A southwestern Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to attempting to manufacture child pornography by secretly videotaping a child victim in the shower.
This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, and the Lawrence County (Missouri) Sheriff's Department.
Christopher L. Modglin, 45, of Stotts City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to manufacture child pornography.
Modglin admitted that he secretly recorded a child victim between the ages of 11 and 13 years old taking a shower. Modglin also admitted that he owned several computers that contained images and movies of child pornography.
According to a plea agreement, the victim's father notified the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department that his daughter told him about Modglin trying to put a camera in her bedroom on multiple occasions. Based on this information, the child victim was interviewed by authorities. During the interview, the victim stated that she had seen a video on Modglin's cell phone of herself taking off a swim suit and getting into a shower.
Sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant at Modglin's residence and seized four computers, all of which contained images and video files of child pornography involving victims between the ages of 8 to 13 years old.
In total, the officers seized material that contained seven video files of child pornography manufactured by Modglin, and 51 movie files and 17 images of child pornography.
When Modglin was arrested, officers also discovered a USB flash drive in his wallet that contained the seven video files he manufactured of the child victim.
Attempted production of child pornography is ordinarily charged in cases that involve surreptitious recordings. The statutory penalties for attempting to produce child pornography are the same as the penalties for producing child pornography.
Under federal statutes, Modglin is subject to a mandatory sentence of 15 to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes a presentence investigation.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.