The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 15, 2014

Former Sarcoxie school board member pleads guilty

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Former Sarcoxie School Board member John Lewis pleaded guilty today to possessing child pornography in a plea bargain that would limit his time in a federal prison to two years without parole.

Lewis, 68, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush in federal court in Springfield. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled following the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This was the second time he pleaded guilty in the case. He accepted a plea offer in October that would have limited the prison time that he might receive to no more than 10 years. But he was allowed to withdraw that plea after switching attorneys. His new plea deal requires that he serve 10 years of supervised release following the prison term.

The charge stemmed from a 2012 investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol into allegations that Lewis had exposed himself to some high school students who were working for him on his farm near Sarcoxie. Based on statements he made to investigators, a search warrant was obtained for his residence and two desktop computers, a laptop computer and electronic storage devices were seized.

The investigators found that the computers contained 19 multimedia files of child pornography and 113 images of suspected child pornography, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri.

 

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