Missouri man sentenced for child pornography, sexual exploitation

Child Exploitation

A Grain Valley, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court for traveling to North Dakota for illicit sex with a 14-year-old child, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, while he was under investigation for distributing child pornography over the internet.

Andy Earl Crook, 63, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to 12 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Crook to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.

On April 25, 2019, Crook pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

The investigation began when FBI agents in Washington executed a search warrant at a residence in that state on Feb. 21, 2018. A review of the suspect’s electronic devices indicated that he had exchanged images and videos of child pornography with others via the internet, including Crook.

On April 5, 2018, Google, Inc. submitted two separate incident reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline reporting that Crook had uploaded and stored possible child pornography images in Google Photos online. An FBI agent, acting in an undercover capacity, communicated with Crook via Kik Messenger. Crook sent images and a video of child pornography to the undercover agent.

On May 4, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Crook’s residence and seized his electronic devices. On Crook’s cell phone, investigators found numerous sexually explicit photos of Crook, 190 images and 13 videos of child pornography (including infants and toddlers), and chat conversations involving child exploitation.

Following the search and seizure, and his interview with an FBI agent, Crook contacted an undercover law enforcement officer in North Dakota, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, on Sept. 1, 2018. Crook’s communication with the undercover officer, via Facebook Messenger and Kik Messenger, became increasingly sexually graphic.

Crook made plans to travel to North Dakota to meet the person whom he believed was a 14-year-old girl, so they could engage in illegal sexual conduct. Crook rented a vehicle and drove to North Dakota for a planned meeting on Sept. 22, 2018. When Crook arrived for the meeting, he was arrested. Officers found multiple sex toys and wine coolers in his vehicle.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Luna. It was investigated by the FBI.