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Child Exploitation
08/19/2016

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ICE Kansas City special agent honored at law enforcement seminar for investigating a Philippines-based child exploitation operation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received the prestigious Guardian of Justice Award during an award ceremony Thursday in southwestern Missouri.

Special Agent James D. Holdman, an HSI special agent based in Springfield, Missouri, was honored at the 14th Annual Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) Training Seminar in Springfield, Missouri.

In July 2012, Holdman located a Craigslist ad for photography services in the Philippines, and he suspected the advertiser may be involved in producing child pornography.  That began the investigation into Kenneth Gaylord Stokes, now 72, a U.S. citizen and convicted sex offender who resided in the Philippines. As a result of this investigation, Stokes pleaded guilty to a federal indictment that charged him with sexually abusing five child victims.  He was subsequently sentenced to 120 years in federal prison without parole.

Holdman exchanged emails with Stokes and traveled to the Philippines to meet in person at Stokes’ gated compound. Stokes told Holdman that he would help facilitate sexual liaisons with both his own wife and Filipino children. Stokes also expressed his desire for Holdman to impregnate his wife in hopes that he would later be able to use the child for sexual purposes. Stokes explained that his wife would not consent to having sex with Holdman and encouraged him to rape her.

Stokes bragged that he had taken thousands of images depicting child pornography, and indicated that people in other countries paid him to produce made-to-order child pornography. Stokes showed Holdman multiple images of child pornography on his laptop computer. 

Holdman left the house and returned with local law enforcement officers to arrest Stokes, who was later deported to the United States.  HSI investigators seized Stokes’ computers and conducted a forensic examination. Investigators found thousands of pictures and video recordings depicting child pornography on Stokes’ computers, as well as a script for a movie depicting the sexual and physical abuse of a child. 

Guardian of Justice Award

The annual Guardian of Justice Award recognizes a state or local officer as well as a federal agent for investigative excellence, selfless collaboration, tireless trial support, commendable diligence and professionalism, and noteworthy assistance to prosecution. The prestigious law enforcement award is presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office each year during the law enforcement training conference.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/19/2016