Slater man pleads guilty to transporting a minor for illicit sex

Guilty Plea

A Slater, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to transporting a 16-year-old victim across state lines for illegal sexual activity.

Daniel Lee Kirby, 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to the charge contained in a July 11, 2018, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Kirby admitted that he transported an individual under the age of 17 between March 4, 2018, and June 25, 2018, with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

The 16-year-old victim was discovered missing from her bedroom in East Ridge, Tennessee, at approximately 1:20 a.m. on March 4, 2018. Kirby was employed as a truck driver with Celadon Trucking, who reported their GPS tracking of Kirby’s rig showed him at a nearby parking lot, with it’s motor off, at approximately the same time. Although Kirby denied having contact with the child victim, Celadon Trucking searched Kirby’s rig for the child victim on multiple occasions after receiving tips he was harboring her.

On June 25, 2018, law enforcement received information that the child victim was living with Kirby in Slater. She was located with Kirby, who was arrested and placed into emergency foster care by the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division.

Kirby told investigators he met the child victim on Facebook. He considered her to be his girlfriend and admitted they had a sexual relationship. He agreed with and assisted in her plan to run away, and solicited her to move in with him. He also admitted that he picked her up in Tennessee and transported her to Missouri.

Kirby 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.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by the Slater, Mo., Police Department, the FBI, and the State Technical Assistance Team.