36-year-old Michael Eden of Joplin was sentenced today (May 15, 2018) to 12 years in federal prison without parole. U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool also sentenced him to ten years of supervised release following incarceration.
According to U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison, on December 4th, 2017, Eden pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography.
Authorities say the investigation began on June 20th, 2016, when a Joplin police officer responded to a call involving the sexual exploitation of a 12-year-old child. According to court documents, the child victim had been receiving text messages from Eden, who indicated he had romantic feelings for the child. The child's mother was told about the text messages after Eden asked the child victim to send him pictures. A forensic examination of the child's phone revealed numerous inappropriate text messages sent by Eden to the child.
Investigators interviewed Eden and then seized his cell phone, a laptop computer, nine hard drives and a USB flash drive from his home. They say Eden admitted that he received images and videos of child pornography from another person through the Kik application on his phone, and that he had also transmitted child pornography to others via Kik.
Investigators discovered 70 images of child pornography on Eden's cell phone and several hundred images of child pornography on his computer. The images depicted children as young as toddlers engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Joplin Police Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes 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."
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