Joplin man faces life sentence for child abuse

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Joplin man has pleaded guilty in federal district court to producing child pornography in a case worked in part by Barry County officers in the Southwest Cyber Crimes Task Force.

On Thursday, Sept. 6, Jason Dewayne Beshears, 30, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to eight counts of producing child pornography. Beshears is expected to plead guilty in state court later this month in a separate case involving the sexual abuse of the same 4-year-old victim.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Beshears must also plead guilty to statutory sodomy and statutory rape in a separate case in Jasper County Circuit Court. Beshears must agree to a total sentence of life imprisonment in the state case, to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in this federal case.

Upon accepting the binding plea agreement in the federal case, the court will sentence Beshears to 50 years in federal prison without parole, followed by a lifetime of supervised release and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

Beshears admitted that he exploited a minor victim over a one-year period to produce digital videos of child pornography. Beshears is charged with exploiting a minor to produce child pornography on Aug. 28, 2010, and on seven more occasions between May 5 and Aug. 9, 2011.

Joplin police officers were called to Beshears' apartment at about 10 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2011, in response to a complaint that a man found his 4-year-old daughter inside Beshears' bedroom with the door shut. Beshears was taking pictures of the child. Her father removed her from the room. Joplin police officers took Beshears into custody about a block away, attempting to leave in a taxi. Beshears admitted to officers that he had sexually assaulted the 4-year-old child and had previously filmed this type of activity.

In excess of 600 images of child pornography were recovered from Beshears' Beshears's digital media. Investigators conducted a forensic examination of Beshears laptop computer and found a large quantity of video files of various forms of sexual abuse being conducted by Beshears on the child victim, as well as numerous images of child erotica. The video files were downloaded to Beshears laptop from March 2010 to Aug. 9, 2011.

Investigators also found more than 20 photos and three videos of sexual abuse being conducted by Beshears on the child victim, which were dated Aug. 9, 2011, on his digital camera.

Beshears must forfeit two laptop computers, an Apple iPhone and a digital camera that were used to commit the offenses to the government.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Joplin Police Department, the FBI and the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force, which includes officers from the Barry County Sheriff's Department and the Cassville Police Department.

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.

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