U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri
(816) 426-3122
September 23, 2015

Joplin Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Pornography Over the Internet

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to distributing and possessing child pornography.

James Allen Crippen, 44, of Joplin, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to the charges contained in a Nov. 5, 2014, federal indictment. Crippen admitted that he distributed child pornography over the Internet on July 20, 2014, and possessed child pornography on Oct. 22, 2014.

On Sept. 24, 2014, members of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force received two Cyber Tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which reported that Crippen had uploaded two images of child pornography to his Tumblr account.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Crippen’s residence and conducted a forensic analysis on the items seized. Investigators discovered 61 child pornography graphics and a multimedia file containing child pornography on Crippen’s desktop computers. Investigators also found child pornography on Crippen’s iPhone.

Crippen must forfeit to the government two desktop computers, an iPhone, two cell phones, 42 optical media disks and other electronic media storage devices that were used to commit the offense.

Under federal statutes, Crippen 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. 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 Cybercrimes Task Force, the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police 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.”

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