The reach of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force widened with the arrest of a New Mexico man on federal child pornography charges.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, local cyber crimes investigators, which include members of the Barry County Sheriff's Department and Cassville Police Department, assisted in the investigation that led to the apprehension of Norman Allen, 49, of Dexter, N.M.
On Jan. 23, Allen pleaded guilty to possession of a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct through a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Under the terms of the agreement, Allen will be sentenced to 12 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. He will also be forced to pay $500 to his victim and register as a sex offender after he completes his time in prison.
Allen was originally indicted on one count of distribution of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography. Under the plea agreement, two of the counts against Allen will be dismissed after he is sentenced.
Court records indicated that Allen was arrested as a result of an undercover investigation by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and a similar task force operating out of New Mexico. Based on information generated from that investigation, a search warrant was served at Allen's home computers and computer-related media were seized.
A forensic examination of Allen's computer uncovered hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, including ones involving 16 children who were identified as child pornography victims and rescued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Allen also admitted that he had a prior felony conviction for sexual assault of a minor in New Jersey.
The case against Allen was 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.