SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a registered sex offender in Republic, Mo., has been indicted by a federal grand jury for the sexual exploitation of a minor.
Christopher Paul Chmela, 52, of Republic, was charged in a three-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Chmela’s arrest last night and initial court appearance this morning.
Chmela, a registered sex offender, has prior convictions for the attempted use of a child in a sexual performance.
The federal indictment alleges that Chmela used a minor to produce child pornography from Aug. 8 to Oct. 25, 2017, in Greene County, Mo. The indictment also charges Chmela with using a cell phone to entice the child victim to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Chmela is also charged with receiving and distributing child pornography from May 26 to Nov. 16, 2017.
Garrison cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Republic, Mo., Police Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.
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."