SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An indictment against a southwestern Missouri man was unsealed Thursday charging that he used a minor to produce child pornography.
This indictment resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Greene County (Missouri) Sheriff's Department.
Tyler Coons, 23, of Springfield, Missouri, was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Tuesday. The indictment was unsealed and made public Thursday following Coons' arrest and initial court appearance.
The federal indictment alleges that Coons used a minor, identified as Jane Doe #1, to produce child pornography between Jan. 1 and June 20, 2014. Coons is also charged with one count of receiving and distributing child pornography.
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.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.