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Child Exploitation
07/27/2018

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2 men sentenced in Missouri for child exploitation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two men, one from Missouri and another from West Virginia, were sentenced in federal court Friday for sexually abusing a child.

These sentences resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Ronald Lee Fields, 56, of Joplin, Missouri, and Shannon Calhoun, 33, of Philippi, West Virginia, (formerly of Joplin) were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark. Fields was sentenced to 20 in federal prison without parole. Calhoun was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Fields and Calhoun to each spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration.

Fields and Calhoun had previously pleaded guilty in November 2017 to one count each of the sexual exploitation of a child.

Officers with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant at Fields’ residence on July 31, 2017, and seized various electronic devices, including a computer. Images of child pornography were found on those devices, which depicted Fields in a motel room with a child of about five years of age. Some photos depicted Fields and Calhoun sexually abusing the child. The photographs were taken at a variety of locations in Jasper and Newton (Missouri) counties between April 20 and July 21, 2014.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher.

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 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/16/2018