SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Missouri, man who was formerly a police officer was sentenced in federal court today for receiving and distributing child pornography.
Gary McKinney, 44, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced McKinney to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration. McKinney will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements, which may apply throughout his life.
McKinney, who pleaded guilty on Aug. 12, 2019, was an officer with the Joplin Police Department for about seven years until May 20, 2006. He also worked for a short time as a police officer in Webb City, Missouri, and Duquesne, Missouri. He owned and operated Gary McKinney Plumbing Services at the time of his arrest.
The investigation began on Sept. 17, 2018, when a federal agent received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Facebook reported that a user had uploaded a video file of the sexual assault of a 4-year-old victim. Law enforcement officers contacted the Facebook user, who at that time was conversing with McKinney using the KIK messaging application.
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at McKinney’s residence on Oct. 3, 2018, and seized his cell phone. Investigators located 506 images and 148 videos that contained child pornography on McKinney’s cell phone. The examination showed that McKinney used both the Telegram and KIK applications to converse with others and exchange child pornography.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.
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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