Lebanon: Justin Barton Sentenced for Child Pornography

Lebanon Sex Offender, Justin Barton Sentenced to 15 Years for Child Pornography

SPRINGFIELD, MO (STL.News) A Lebanon, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today after a law enforcement officer noticed child pornography on his cell phone during a traffic stop.

Justin Barton, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 15 years in federal prison without parole.  The court also sentenced Barton to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration and ordered Barton to pay $3,000 in restitution to each of his victims.

On Nov. 30, 2021, Barton pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography from Jan.  1, 2018, to Jan. 15, 2020.  Barton is a registered sex offender after his 2017 court-martial for possessing and distributing child pornography while serving in the U.S. Army in the Republic of Korea.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant stopped Barton on Jan. 15, 2020, for having an inoperable license plate lamp.  Barton provided the sergeant with proof of insurance by accessing his insurance card through his cell phone.  As the sergeant handed the phone back to Barton, an image of a naked child appeared on the screen.  Barton agreed to allow the sergeant to take the phone to patrol headquarters for further examination.  Investigators then obtained a search warrant and found images and videos of child pornography on the phone.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher.  It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol 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.