Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Duenweg man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A convicted sex offender in Duenweg, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving child pornography over the Internet.

Paul L. Sipeer, 65, of Duenweg, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to receiving child pornography over the Internet. Sipeer has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest in January 2016.

Sipeer is a registered sex offender with a 1992 conviction for sexual abuse in the first degree involving the physical harm of a 7-year-old child. According to court documents, Sipeer admitted that he sexually molested at least three other children besides the victim of the crime resulting in his conviction. Sipeer also admitted that he began accessing child pornography within one year of his release from prison in 1994.

By pleading guilty today, Sipeer admitted that he received child pornography between July 1, 2012, and Jan. 26, 2016.

According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents learned that Sipeer was conducting online money transfers between $10 and $20 several times a month during the summer of 2015 to individuals in the Philippines. Money transfers, conducted through Western Union and MoneyGram, are often used to send funds to pay for sexual performances by children in the Philippines. In prior investigations conducted by HSI, small amounts of money, typically between $5 and $100, are often sent to individuals in the Philippines. Often the senders would send additional payments for continued and/or repeat performances.

Upon further investigation, agents learned that Sipeer had been making money transfers to various individuals in the Philippines since January 2013, in amounts ranging up to $480.

Law enforcement officers contacted Sipeer at his residence on Jan. 26, 2016. Sipeer told the officers he sent money to the Philippines to pay for “sex shows.” Sipeer said he has sent approximately $1,200 to the Philippines in total. Sipeer also confessed that he had been actively downloading images depicting child pornography from the Internet. Several images of child pornography, depicting children younger than 10 years old, were located on Sipeer’s computer.

Under federal statutes, Sipeer 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. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 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 Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force.

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