Missouri man pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of a child

Child Exploitation

An Eldon, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court to traveling to North Carolina on five occasions to engage in illicit sexual activity with a child victim over a two-year period.

James Anthony Guthrie, III, 37, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

By pleading guilty, Guthrie admitted that he traveled to North Carolina on five occasions for work and, while there, met the 15-year-old child victim at various hotels for sex. Guthrie admitted that he picked up the child victim from school or at her house; once, the victim’s father brought her to the hotel.

Guthrie also admitted that he communicated about sexual matters with the child victim and received pornographic images and videos from her. He bought her clothes, food, and paid her cell phone bill.

Investigators examined Guthrie’s laptop, hard drive and DVD-R disks, which contained images of child pornography.

Under federal statutes, Guthrie is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life 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 United States Probation Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Lebanon, Mo., Police Department, and the Lake Area ICAC Task Force.