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Former Joplin Schools tech employee gets 20 years in prison... - KOAM TV 7

Former Joplin Schools tech employee gets 20 years in prison without parole in porn case

Ronny Justin Myers Ronny Justin Myers

Updated October 24, 2013: NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF

FORMERSCHOOL EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FORCHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District ofMissouri, announced that a former employee of the Joplin, Mo., school districtwas sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting several childvictims.

RonnyJustin Myers, 35, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillipsto 20 years in federal prison without parole. The court granted the government'smotion for an upward variance and sentenced Myers to a longer prison term thanwas recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines (151 to 188 months).Following his prison term, Myers will be on supervised release for the rest ofhis life. The court also ordered Myers to pay $5,000 in restitution to a14-year-old victim (identified in court documents as "C.A.").

OnMay 13, 2013, Myers pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minorand to enticing a minor for criminal sexual activity. At the time of hisarrest, Myers had been employed as an assistant network systems administratorfor the Joplin school district since December 2005.

Accordingto court documents, Myers contacted C.A. via Facebook in November 2012. Thiscontact prompted C.A. to disclose to a school counselor that she had beenrepeatedly sexually molested by Myers when she was between the ages of 8 and12. A law enforcement officer assumed C.A.'s identity and began communicatingwith Myers. These Internet exchanges became very graphic and Myers sent obsceneimages to C.A.

OnFeb. 15, 2013, Myers attempted to entice C.A. to meet him in order to engage insexual activity during his lunch hour from work. Myers drove to the Joplin mallto pick up C.A. but was met by law enforcement officers who were waiting forhim. Myers avoided capture and led police on a high speed car chase through thecity of Joplin before being arrested.

Duringan interview with law enforcement officers, Myers admitted that he had sexuallymolested three young girls (ages 6, 9 and 11). He also admitted that hesecretly recorded a 17-year-old engaging in sexual activity.

Myersalso told law enforcement officers that he secretly stored child pornography onhis computer. He stated that he had approximately 10 child pornography imagesof Joplin school district students, four of whom have been identified and rangein age from 15 to 16 years old. Myers discovered those images when he accessedthe students' laptop computers.

Thiscase was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It wasinvestigated by Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Baxter, Kan.,Police Department and the FBI.

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Updated June 3, 2013:  A former Joplin school employee has plead guilty to one count of transferring pornography through the Internet and one count of coercion to entice a female.

Ronny Justin Myers, 35, entered the plea on May 13 and a district judge accepted those pleas today (June 3).

Authorities say he tried to communicate with a 14-year-old girl from Pittsburg via private Facebook messaging in February.  Investigators say after police took over the girl's Facebook Myers sent four obscene images to the minor.  They say he then made plans to meet the girl at Joplin's Northpark Mall, which where officers arrested Myers.

Sentencing has yet to be scheduled, but Myers now faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years without parole, and up to life in prison without parole.

School officials had previously said Myers worked out of a school district office as a network tech and did not have any direct interaction with kids in the school.

EDITED JUNE 4, 2013:  Joplin Schools Communication Specialist Kelli Price has confirmed Ronny Justin Myers is no longer employed by the district.

 

Updated February 19, 2013 at 5:50 PM CST:  A Joplin school employee charged in a pornography case appeared in court today for the first time.

Ronny Justin Myers, an employee with the school district's technology department, is charged in federal court with sending obscene material over the Internet to a minor.

Authorities say he tried to communicate with a 14-year-old girl from Pittsburg via private Facebook messaging.

Investigators say after police took over the girl's Facebook Myers sent four obscene images to the minor.

They say he made plans to meet the girl at Joplin's Northpark Mall last Friday, where officers arrested Myers.

Myers is scheduled to be back in court on Thursday.

Updated February 15, 2013 at 5:50 PM CST:  A developing story tonight - a Joplin Schools employee is arrested today in a pornography case.

Ronny Justin Myers, 35, an employee in the school district's technology department, is charged in federal court with sending obscene material over the Internet to a minor.

Authorities say he tried to communicate with a 14-year-old girl from Pittsburg via private Facebook messaging.

Law enforcement began communicating with Myers over the child's Facebook page.

According to the affidavit Myers sent four obscene images to the minor on Monday and made plans to meet at the Joplin mall during his lunch break on Friday.

Law enforcement arrested Myers at the mall after a brief chase.

Joplin Schools Superintendent C.J. Huff says Myers worked out of a school district office as a network tech and did not have any direct interaction with kids in the school.

Dr. Huff says the school district is working with the police department to help with the investigation.

"Our responsibility right now is to the answer the police department," says Dr. Huff.  "Our job is to be responsible and cooperate fully with the police department and make sure that they have all the equipment and access to the network and servers and things of that nature to make sure they get all the evidence they need so the due process that needs to take place can take place."

Authorities are investigating and we'll have more information as it becomes available.

Myers first court appearance is set for Tuesday.

Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM CST - Statement from the Joplin School District:

An important message from Joplin School:

At 11:30 am this morning, we were contacted by the Joplin Police Department with some disturbing news. We wanted you to hear this news directly from us.

(Ronny) Justin Myers, an employee in our technology department, was arrested on a Federal Warrant that stemmed from an investigation by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force. The warrant was for furnishing obscene material to a minor less than 16. The minor was not a student of Joplin Schools and the arrest was made off school property. The individual remains in federal custody.

The investigation is ongoing and Joplin Schools is cooperating fully with law enforcement. They are working closely with us to investigate this matter, and we will share more information with you as it becomes available.

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