Missouri man sentenced to 70 years for child pornography crimes

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STANBERRY, Mo. — A Missouri man who produced child pornography and possessed more than 1,000 images of child pornography was sentence in federal court on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Dale Wiederholt, 33, of Stanberry, Mo., was sentenced to 70 years in federal prison without parole. Stanberry is located about 50 miles northeast of St. Joseph, Mo.

In October 2012, Wiederholt pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to produce child pornography, one count of transporting child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography.

According to court documents, Wiederholt sexually abused a child under the age of 12 on numerous occasions over the course of approximately seven months while he was producing child pornography. Wiederholt’s exploitation was characterized in court documents as unusually vicious. His forcible abuse of the child victim included his use of duct tape (to cover her mouth during these assaults) and coercion involving threats of murder. He then bragged of his sexual abuse to those individuals with whom he actively traded child pornography.

In August 2010, federal agents learned that Wiederholt was actively trading child pornography with a number of individuals. Wiederholt was caught trading child pornography with another person who was the target of an investigation conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.

Upon a review of Wiederholt’s email account and personal cell phone, as well as his postings on an image-hosting website that caters to traders of child pornography, it was apparent that he had produced images of child pornography.  Multiple emails, message board postings and Wiederholt’s own confession confirmed that Wiederholt used a minor to produce child pornography on Dec. 29, 2010. Wiederholt saved an image of the child victim on his personal cell phone. Wiederholt communicated to multiple individuals, as well as in his confession, that he was sexually abusing this minor. Wiederholt subsequently distributed this image and others via email and on an image-hosting service.

A forensic examination of Wiederholt’s laptop computer demonstrated that he was in possession of at least 1,238 images and 33 video files of child pornography.  Wiederholt’s email account demonstrated that he had distributed and received dozens of emails containing numerous images and videos of child pornography.  Some of these images depicted acts of a sadistic and masochistic nature.

Court documents cite Wiederholt’s extensive criminal history, including a history of sex-related offenses and inappropriate contact with minor females. Wiederholt has multiple convictions for repeated contact with a then-15-year-old minor. Even after being confronted by law enforcement, court documents state, Wiederholt continued to contact the 15-year-old minor and expressed his “love” for her.

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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