The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

June 13, 2013

Ex-YMCA camp worker draws prison term

— A federal judge has sentenced a former employee of a YMCA camp in Lawrence County to 20 years in prison without parole for sexual exploitation of a teenager.

U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes assessed Matthew O’Dell, 29, the prison term at a hearing Wednesday in federal court in Springfield.

O’Dell pleaded guilty to the charge May 23 of last year in a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri. He admitted in the agreement that he had made a sexually explicit video recording of a 13-year-old boy between Jan. 1, 2005, and May 30, 2006.

The video recording was discovered by Springfield police on Aug. 4, 2009, when they served a search warrant on a storage unit in which O’Dell was keeping some of his belongings. At the time, police were investigating an allegation that he had molested another boy at a hotel in Springfield.

O’Dell, who worked at the YMCA’s Camp Wakonda and volunteered at a middle school in Springfield before his arrest, had been charged with sexually exploiting two minors as well as possession of child pornography. While the other counts were dismissed under the terms of his plea agreement, the court heard testimony from other alleged victims at his sentencing hearing.

The judge also ordered that once the defendant completes his prison time, he must spend the rest of his life on supervised release.

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