U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri
(816) 426-3122
November 9, 2015

Springfield Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges, Faces at Least 15 Years in Prison

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a prior sex offender in Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving and distributing child pornography.

Gary Thomas Sheldon, 52, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a July 21, 2015, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Sheldon admitted that he received and distributed child pornography over the Internet from Oct. 5, 2014, to July 15, 2015. Sheldon, a registered sex offender, was convicted in federal court of possessing child pornography in January 2001. As a result, Sheldon will be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had received the tip from an adult pornography Web site where Sheldon had uploaded an image of child pornography. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Sheldon’s residence on July 15, 2015. Sheldon’s desktop computer and cell phone were seized, and investigators discovered images of child pornography on both devices.

Under federal statutes, Sheldon is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 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 Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Southwest Missouri Cybercrime Task Force.

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.”

This content has been reproduced from its original source.