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Child Exploitation

Missouri man sentenced to 12 years in prison for receiving child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A south central Missouri man was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 12 years in prison for receiving child pornography.

This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); in cooperation with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force (SWMCCTF); the Cassville, Mo., Police Department; and the Howell County, Mo., Sheriff's Department.

Scott Allen Johnson, 26, of West Plains, Mo., was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Johnson to pay $5,000 in restitution to two of the victims portrayed in the images of child pornography ($3,000 in restitution if the amount is paid within 30 days). Johnson, who pleaded guilty Jan. 17, 2013, must also forfeit to the government the laptop computer that was used to commit the offenses.

An officer with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force identified Johnson's computer which contained images of child pornography available on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network on Dec. 30, 2011. The officer connected to Johnson's computer on the network again on Jan. 9, 2012 and determined that Johnson had 322 files available for sharing, of which 139 were identified as known files depicting child sexual abuse.

Officers executed a search warrant at Johnson's residence Feb. 9, 2012, and seized a laptop computer, four computer towers and 42 optical media disks.

Investigators found 219 images and 46 movie files of child pornography on the laptop computer. The ages of the child victims ranged from 2 to 12 years old, and their images depicted various and extreme scenes of sexual intercourse.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.