An Exeter man will spend the next 15 years behind bars in a federal prison on child pornography charges.
Stephen Bee, 34, of Exeter, was sentenced on Oct. 20 to serve 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr in the federal courthouse in Springfield.
On June 21, Stephen Bee pleaded guilty to exploiting a child victim to produce child pornography. The crime took place on Sept. 5, 2010.
Stephen Bee's brother, Nicholas Bee, 23, also of Exeter, is still awaiting his sentence. Nicholas Bee pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, 2010.
Under federal statutes, Nicholas Bee is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five to 15 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
The case was tried before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. The Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force.
The case against the Bee brothers was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.