Last updated: July 18. 2013 11:26AM - 375 Views
MICHAEL BROWNING, Managing Editor



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A Mingo County man caught in a child porn internet sting has pled guilty to the charges in Missouri.
Kenneth Dale Ooten, 39, of Varney, a former gospel singer and musician, was extradited last year to Adair County, Missouri, where he was charged with three first degree counts of knowingly promoting child pornography to a minor in that county.
Adair County, Missouri, Prosecutor Mark Williams said yesterday in a phone interview exclusive to The Logan Banner that Ooten has pleaded guilty to the child pornography charges and has already been sentenced to 97 months (eight years and one month) in federal prison.
Williams said Ooten will have to spend most of that sentence in jail before he"ll even be eligible for parole.
"He entered a plea of guilty in United States District Court for the eastern district of Missouri in St. Louis," Williams said. "He was sentenced to 97 months and then, upon his release, he will have lifetime supervision. That means he'll have a parole officer until he dies.
"He'll have to serve a minimum of 85 percent of those 97 months before he's eligible for any type of parole in the federal system."
Ooten is currently listed as "in transit" on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
"The Bureau of Corrections will ship him to whatever facility is appropriate to him," Williams said. "It could be anywhere in the country."
If brought to a federal prison near his home in Varney, Ooten could be lodged in one of several federal detention facilities, including Beckley, Alderson, Glenville, Morgantown and Hazleton in West Virginia and Inez and Ashland nearby in Kentucky.
Ooten appeared before Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury and waived extradition to Missouri, where he has been lodged in jail since late last year. It was not known if the jailtime Ooten has already served will count toward his sentence. It was also not known at press time if Ooten will have to register as a sex offender.
The child to whom Ooten allegedly promoted the child pornography was actually an undercover officer from the Kirksville, Missouri, Police Department posing as a young boy.
While Ooten was arrested for being a fugitive from justice and charged with the three child porn counts, he ended up being charged with federal crimes after the case was given over to the FBI.
Kirksville Deputy Chief of Police Tim King said in an interview conducted last year that Ooten turned himself in after West Virginia State Police troopers confronted him and seized his computer.
"I think he knew this was coming because they had been over there before and had seized his computer. He'd sent a bunch of child pornography to us," King said.
"We initiated the investigation and got it going here and what happened was, one night, he called us and told us his 6-year-old (cousin) was staying with him and he was going to have sex with him. We had been talking to him for a few days prior to that and he had sent us some child porn and so we started scrambling, trying to get him tracked down. He then later told us, after we had everybody in here in the middle of the night trying to get IP addresses, that he (the child) had went home with his family. So, we went ahead and processed it the next day and sent everything out to the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force officer) out there (in Mingo County) and they went and pounded on his door, seized his computer and got a confession from him.
"Then, we lost track of what happened to him for a long time and we never did figure out what they were going to do with charges," King continued. "We were told he wasn't going to even go to a grand jury until February of next year and our prosecutor went ahead and filed warrants for him for back here and we put those warrants out. And then, last week, we were told he (Ooten) turned himself in. We then had to send a letter from the prosecutor saying that we would extradite him."
West Virginia State Police Trooper First Class S.T. Harper confirmed Ooten did turn himself in at the Williamson detachment on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007.
Ooten was indicted by a grand jury in Adair County on August 15, 2007.
The first count of the indictment said Ooten, on May 1, 2007, "knowing its content and character, distributed obscene material consisting of a young male performing oral sex, deviate sexual intercourse, on another male that portrays what appears to be a person under the age of 14 years as a participant in sexual conduct."
The second count said Ooten "knowing its content and character, distributed obscene material consisting of two young males on a couch masturbating that portrays what appears to be a person under the age of 14 years as a participant in sexual conduct."
The third count said Ooten "knowing its content and character, distributed obscene material consisting of a nude young male having physical contact with the unclothed pubic area of another male in an act of apparent sexual stimulation that portrays what appears to be a person under the age of 14 years as a participant in sexual conduct."
After he was extradited to Missouri, his case was turned over to federal prosecutors and the case went to federal court in St. Louis.
After Ooten failed to appear in Missouri court on the three felony counts, Adair County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Williams issued a warrant for his arrest. Trooper Harper got a warrant for Ooten's arrest on and arrested him later that day when Ooten turned himself in to police. Ooten's bond was set at $75,000 - cash only.
According to King, the three charges were filed in Missouri so that Ooten would be picked up right away, rather than leave him on the streets until February 2008 when he would have gone before the grand jury in West Virginia.
King said Ooten told the undercover officer that he had engaged in sexual activity with a family member at some point prior to his claims that he was planning to have sex with the 6-year-old boy. King said it was not known if the 6-year-old child was actually at Ooten's home when Ooten said he planned to have sex with the young boy.
"I think he had told (the officer) that he had had some (sex) with family members, but I don't know that any of it was recent," King said. "And, of course, we don't know if the other child was actually there. We just had to take him at his word. We were scrambling."
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