Raytown Sex Offender, Joseph L. Smith Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Pornography
KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) A registered sex offender in Raytown, Missouri, was sentenced in federal court today for receiving child pornography over the internet.
Joseph L. Smith, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Smith to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration. Smith must pay $33,000 in restitution to his victims.
Smith is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 1992 for forcible oral sodomy of an 8-year-old female. Smith was also convicted of failure to register as a sex offender in 2001.
On Oct. 15, 2020, Smith pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography over the internet. Smith admitted to participating in chat rooms and to receiving various links which included images and videos that depicted child pornography.
On March 15, 2018, investigators obtained a search warrant to seize Smith’s laptop and hard drive. A forensic analysis disclosed a total of approximately 13,036 suspected child pornography files on the laptop and hard drive. Of those files, 11,205 were still images and 1,831 were videos. Approximately 1,327 images and 428 videos depicted infants, toddlers, and prepubescent children. Approximately nine images and 52 videos depicted minor children subjected to bondage, torture, sadomasochistic behaviors, or other violence. Approximately 10 images and eight videos depicted minor children engaged in bestiality or sexual acts involving animals.
The investigation began on March 20, 2017, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from Dropbox, Inc., regarding 49 files of child pornography uploaded into Smith’s account. Additionally, on June 8, 2017, the Toronto, Canada, Police Service executed a criminal code search warrant on the residence of an individual in Scarborough, Canada. During the search, the individual’s computers were examined and hundreds of images of child pornography were discovered. The police also reviewed approximately 30,000 Kik chats and identified Smith as one of a number of suspects whom the individual either sent to or received child pornography from.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine A. Connelly. It was investigated by the Western Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.
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.