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Child Exploitation
05/28/2020

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Missouri pastor sentenced 25 years for producing child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former Pineville, Missouri, pastor was sentenced Wednesday in federal court today for producing child pornography.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force, and the Pineville Police Department investigated the case.

Ryan Daniel Crawford, 33, of Austin, Arkansas, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Crawford to pay $2,500 in restitution to one of the victims of his molestation, and sentenced Crawford to 20 years on supervised release following incarceration.

On Sept. 16, 2019, Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography.

Crawford admitted that he had touched the 9-year-old victim’s genitals with his hands, and that he had photographed her genitals with his cell phone while she was sleeping.

Investigators located sexually explicit images of the child victim on Crawford’s cell phone.

Crawford was the assistant pastor at First Baptist Church in Pineville for approximately seven years until his arrest on state charges in 2017.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019 and the state charges were dismissed.

Crawford has remained in federal custody since his arrest on the federal indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller, Western District of Missouri, prosecuted the case.

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 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,500 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 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: 06/01/2020