Final Defendant Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking of a Child
Case is Part of Human Trafficking Rescue Project: Operation Guardian Angel
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 18, 2009|
KANSAS CITY, MO—Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Overland Park, Kan., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to the attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child.
This conviction is the result of Operation Guardian Angel, a unique undercover law enforcement investigation targeting the demand for child prostitutes in the Kansas City metro area. As a result of this investigation, a total of seven defendants have been indicted and convicted in the nation’s first-ever federal prosecution of the alleged customers of child prostitution under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Steven E. Mikoloyck, 47, of Overland Park, pleaded guilty before U.S. District judge Gary A. Fenner this morning to the charge contained in a Feb. 3, 2009, federal indictment.
In January 2009, the Independence, Mo., Police Department conducted a sting operation targeting local customers who solicit pimps to engage in commercial sex acts with children. The “children” were advertised online at Craigslist. No real children were actually involved in the sting.
On Saturday, January 29 2009, Mikoloyck responded to an online advertisement that said, in part, “While there mommas away these girls will play. My girlfriend is out of town her daughters are ready to play with you. Be the first for the little girls ...” (sic) Mikoloyck engaged in a series of e-mails with the undercover officer, who was posing as the pimp, in which he discussed the price for a 16-year-old girl. The next day, Mikoloyck engaged in another series of e-mails with the undercover officer, and further discussed the deal for the 16-year-old girl over the phone. The following day, Jan. 31, 2009, Mikoloyck engaged in another series of e-mail and telephone conversations with the undercover officer, and agreed to pay $100 to take the 16-year-old girl outside the residence for sex for half an hour. Mikoloyck drove from Overland Park to the agreed-upon meeting place, but when he wasn’t able to reach the undercover officer by phone, returned to Overland Park. After making contact with the undercover officer, he then drove back to the location. When Mikoloyck arrived at the house, he paid the undercover officer $100 and was arrested.
Under federal statutes, Mikoloyck is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life 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 Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.
Operation Guardian Angel
Operation Guardian Angel was conducted by the Human Trafficking Rescue Project, a joint task force from the Independence Police Department, the FBI, ICE, and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department. During the undercover operation, task force officers placed Internet ads for underage prostitutes. According to court documents, the ads clearly stated that the prostitutes were “little girls” and were “young.” Those who responded to the ads were given directions to an undercover location that was outfitted with audio and video recording equipment. When they arrived at the undercover residence and paid cash for a child prostitute, they were arrested by task force officers.
This operation marks the first time that the U.S. Department of Justice has utilized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute customers who allegedly attempt to pay for sex with children. While the pimps who offer to sell children to others for prostitution have been prosecuted in the Western District and elsewhere, these indictments are the first in the nation to charge a “John” with attempting to pay for sex with a child.