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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Missouri Man Convicted of Receiving and Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Material

Missouri Man Convicted of Receiving and Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Material Online Following HSI Kansas City Probe

Release Date: May 13, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An El Dorado Springs man who was caught with thousands of files depicting child sexual abuse was convicted May 8 after a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City probe.

John Fitzgerald Mullings, 51, was found guilty of two counts of receiving and distributing child pornography.

Law enforcement received multiple reports from MeWe, Dropbox and Snapchat of Mullings uploading images and videos of child sexual abuse to their servers. Investigators contacted Mullings at his residence on March 2, 2021. Officers seized his cellphone, which contained 678 images and 96 videos of child sexual abuse, including rape and/or bondage of minors.

“This conviction sends a clear message to predators that there are serious consequences for abusing children,” said HSI Kansas City acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Zito. “HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, are dedicated to the eradication of child sex abuse material and will continue to search out those who engage in the distribution of these horrific images.”

Mullings was indicted on one count of receiving and distributing child pornography from Feb. 2, 2020, to March 2, 2021, based on these images and videos.

On Aug. 3, 2022, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Mullings’s residence, which also served as the office for his business, Steward Wrecker, in relation to an unrelated state criminal investigation. Officers seized 14 cellphones, multiple computers, laptop computers and computer tablets, and electronic storage devices.

Investigators conducted a forensic examination of those devices and determined that 11 devices contained child sexual abuse material. On just one of Mullings’ tablets, investigators found 5,197 images and 211 videos. The files included visual depictions of sexual conduct with animals, binding and/or forced sexual contact with persons, and physical assault and deceased persons. In total, investigators found 14,249 images, and 2,054 videos of child sexual abuse material among Mullings’ devices.

Mullings was charged in a superseding indictment with an additional count of receiving and distributing child pornography from March 3, 2021, to Aug. 3, 2022, based on these images and videos.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated for 27 minutes before returning guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool, ending a trial that began Monday, May 6.

Under federal statutes, Mullings is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole and up to 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie L. Wan and James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by HSI, the Barry County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department, the Cassville Police Department, the El Dorado Springs Police Department, the Springfield Police Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Learn more about our mission to combat child exploitation in our community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIKansasCity.

Last Updated: 05/13/2024
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