Monday, November 27, 2017

Former Neosho resident pleads guilty to sexually exploiting child In Joplin

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

A West Virginia man pleaded guilty in federal court today to sexually exploiting a minor in the Joplin, Mo., area.

Shannon Calhoun, 32, of Philippi, W. Va., formerly of Neosho, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the sexual exploitation of a child.

By pleading guilty today, Calhoun admitted that he induced a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. Co-defendant Ronald Lee Fields, 56, of Joplin, pleaded guilty to the same charge involving the same child victim on Nov. 21, 2017.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Fields’ residence in Joplin on Jan. 30, 2017, and seized a desktop computer, an iPhone 5, two tablet computers, a digital camera, an SD card and a compact disk containing photos. Investigators discovered some pornographic photos of Fields with an approximately 5-year-old child, including photos taken at a motel and at his residence. Data on the photos indicated they were created using Fields’s camera.

Calhoun was identified as the adult performing sexual acts on the child victim in numerous images of the child being sexually abused over a period of several years.

Investigators also interviewed Benjamin Goodwin, 28, of Springfield. Goodwin, a former Springfield YMCA employee who pleaded guilty in a separate case to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet, told investigators that he had traded images of child pornography with Fields.

Under federal statutes, Calhoun and Fields are each subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 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 Cybercrimes Task Force.

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