A Gainesville man federally charged in 2018 with counts including production and distribution of child pornography has pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of coercion and enticement of a minor.
Tracy Todd Presson, 54, entered the plea Monday before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush in Springfield. Presson faces a sentence from between 15 years in federal to a life sentence, all without parole.
The sexual assaults reportedly happened over the span of five years. Presson was originally charged with two counts of inducing, enticing or coercing a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, which visual depiction was produced using materials that had been mailed, shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”
The original charges also include one count each of using a facility and means of interstate commerce (the internet and cell phone network) to knowingly attempt to persuade or entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity and knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography through means of interstate commerce, including mailing, shipping or by computer.
In pleading guilty to one count each of sexual exploitation of a minor and coercion and enticement of a minor, Presson admitted he produced child pornography using the child victim, by recording himself and the child engaged in sexually explicit activity on multiple occasions, and used FaceTime to coerce and entice the victim to engage in sexually explicit activity.
In October 2018, Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed reported that his department was in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigations regarding about 8,000 images and videos reviewed by investigators in order to confirm a federal crime was committed and identify possible victims of human trafficking.
When deputies searched Presson’s home, a SanDisk 32 gigabyte SD card was found containing child pornography, including 165 images and 68 videos of the victim.
The victim said the abuse started when she was about 11 years old and the most recent assault happened in September 2018 at a motel room in Kansas.
The case originated in Ozark County and court records containing details of the alleged crimes related to the case had since been sealed at the request of Reed and Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John James Garrabrant “due to the horrific statements,” Reed said.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ami Harshad Miller and Byron Black. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.