Former Economic Development Employee Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography
SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former employee of the South Central Ozarks Council of Governments pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving child pornography on his worksite computer.
Steven Gregary Reed, 37, of West Plains, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to the charge contained in a Dec. 10, 2014, federal indictment.
At the time of the offense, Reed was employed as the coordinator of solid waste management with the South Central Ozarks Council of Governments, an economic development organization for seven counties in the south central region of Missouri (Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas, and Wright Counties), which is headquartered in Pomona, Mo.
A law enforcement officer with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force was investigating unlawful Internet usage and noticed that a certain computer had over 100 files of suspected child pornography. The officer continued to monitor the computer for several months and noticed the computer to be on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network on a regular basis, searching for child pornography. The computer was assigned to the South Central Ozarks Council of Governments.
On Oct. 29, 2014, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the office and determined that the desktop computer used by Reed was the computer identified in their investigation. Reed admitted to officers that he had watched child pornography the night before the execution of the search warrant. Reed viewed child pornography on a regular basis at work and home. Reed stated that he never downloaded child pornography at home but he did at work. He admitted to placing downloaded child pornography on a flash drive that he kept in his car. He added that he looked at child pornography on his work computer and often downloaded child pornography on his work computer.
Reed had approximately 131 movies and 126 graphic images of child pornography on his work computer.
Under federal statutes, Reed is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Reed must forfeit to the government a laptop computer, a desktop computer and two flash drives that were used to commit the offense. Reed will be required under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) to register as a sex offender and keep the registration current in each of the jurisdictions where he resides, is employed and is a student. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Howell County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.
Project Safe Childhood
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 United States 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”