Republic Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography
SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Republic, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to producing child pornography.
Benjamin Michael Hopper, 23, of Republic, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to the charge contained in a May 13, 2015, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Hopper admitted that he used a minor, identified as “Jane Doe #1,” to produce child pornography between Jan. 21 and 25, 2015.
According to court documents, Hopper met the 14-year-old victim in an on-line chat room. She later snuck out of her home and was picked up by Hopper, who kept her at his home for several days, during which time he engaged in various sexual acts with the minor. These acts were recorded on Hopper’s iPad.
Under federal statutes, Hopper is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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 James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the FBI and the Republic, 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.”