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May 5, 2023Des Moines, IA, United StatesChild Exploitation

Iowa man sentenced to 25 years for child exploitation after HSI Kansas City investigation

The man used social media to coerce young girls into producing sexually explicit photos and videos

DES MOINES, Iowa — On April 28, a judge sentenced Bryan Ross, 26, of Ellsworth, to 25 years in federal prison for producing and distributing child exploitation material following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City probe.

Between July 2019 and February 2022, Ross knowingly harassed and coerced minors on social media platforms to take sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves and send them to him. He received and attempted to receive visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and distributed them to others online.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand sentenced Ross to 300 months’ imprisonment and fined him $1,000. He also ordered Ross to pay $18,649 in restitution to the victims. Ross must also serve an eight-year term of supervised release following his incarceration. There is no parole in the federal system.

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 U.S. 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.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kraig R. Hamit.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to eradicate child exploitation in your community on Twitter @HSIKansasCity.