Monday, October 24, 2022

Independence man sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after sending undercover agent child pornography

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for distributing child pornography over the internet, including to an undercover federal agent, whom he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.

Thomas E. Andries, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Andries to a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration.

On Sept. 8, 2021, Andries pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography over the internet.

Andries admitted that he sent a Kik message to an FBI Child Exploitation Task Force officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, who was posing as a 13-year-old girl in an online undercover capacity, on Feb. 12, 2019. Andries sent the undercover officer two videos of child pornography.

On May 14, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Andries’s residence and seized his cell phone. Andries admitted that he received child pornography via Kik Messenger and saved the files to his cell phone. Investigators found approximately 20 photos and 48 videos of child pornography on the cell phone, including young children and toddlers.

Investigators also found three images and 12 videos of child pornography in Andries’s Google Photos collection, and approximately 97 videos and 38 images of child pornography in his Dropbox account. Included in the Dropbox collection were pornographic images of toddlers and child bestiality.

Andries admitted to engaging with Kik groups who discussed the sexual abuse of children and exchanged child pornography files. He also admitted he exchanged his child pornography files within his group in order to receive additional files from other Kik users.

According to court documents, Andries told investigators that he communicated with three minor females via Kik beginning in 2018. He admitted to sending at least one of the minors, who lived in the United Kingdom, child pornography.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Luna. It was investigated by the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force and the Independence, Mo., Police Department.

Project Safe Childhood:
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. 

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

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