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Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Suspect facing federal child porn charge arrested for molesting grandchildren

June 11, 2003

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— A 58-year-old man awaiting a federal trial on a child pornography charge was arrested Wednesday on 42 state charges of sexually assaulting children.

The man is suspected of repeatedly molesting three of his grandchildren and a fourth child, all under 14, from January 1994 until December 1997, when he lived in Independence, the Jackson County prosecutor's office said.

The children's parents identified them from sexually explicit videotapes, in which the suspect appears, that were among hundreds of pornographic images seized by the FBI in March from his North Kansas City home, Independence police said.

The suspect was being returned Wednesday afternoon from Leavenworth, Kan., where he was arrested earlier in the day, police said.

He had pleaded guilty in April to a single federal count of possessing child pornography and was released on a signature bond to await trial.

John Liebnitz, spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor's office, said additional charges could be filed.

"It is not unusual in a case like this that there are more victims and subsequently more charges," Liebnitz said. "It's an ongoing investigation."

Agents in Kansas City began looking for the man after being alerted by the FBI in Dallas that his name was in the database of a California-based online credit card service. Customers used the service to buy access to child pornography, according to an affidavit filed by an Independence police detective.

In addition, agents found that the suspect's e-mail address had turned up earlier in an investigation in Switzerland of an Internet child pornography exchange, according to the affidavit.

In interviews in March and April with FBI agents in Kansas City, the suspect described himself as a pedophile and said he molested all four of his daughters when they were under 13, the affidavit said.

He also told the FBI he had engaged in sexual activity with the three grandchildren who appear with him in the videotapes, according to the affidavit. Police said the children's mother had allowed them to have overnight visits with the suspect about twice a month from January 1994 until December 1997.

The Journal-World generally does not identify suspects in sex crimes unless they have been convicted.

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