SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man who contacted hundreds of children through a teen dating website was indicted by a federal grand jury today on child sexual exploitation charges.
Kody Ryan Kelso, 30, was charged in a five-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo. Today’s superseding indictment replaces the original indictment that was filed on June 23, 2021, and includes additional charges. Kelso has been detained without bond since his arrest on June 16, 2021.
Today’s indictment charges Kelso with the sexual exploitation of a child to produce child pornography and with using the internet and cell phone to induce a child under the age of 14 to engage in illicit sexual activity, both of which are related to an undercover law enforcement operation in the United Kingdom in which officers posed as a child.
The indictment also charges Kelso with one count of the sexual exploitation of a child victim to produce child pornography, one count of using the internet and cell phone to induce a second child victim under the age of 14 to engage in illicit sexual activity, and one count of receiving and distributing child pornography.
According to court documents, Kelso used an online service named My LOL, a teen dating site with chat features, to contact a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, but in reality was an undercover law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom. Kelso allegedly asked her to have sexual intercourse with him and to send him nude images.
Kelso allegedly contacted more than 560 additional individual MyLOL users between Jan. 7 and Feb. 21, 2021. Each user was between the age of 13 and 17. In numerous instances, according to court documents, Kelso attempted to discuss sexual topics with these users and request sexual images.
In addition to the information from the United Kingdom, investigators received two Cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding Kelso’s online activity and posting a child pornography video online.
On June 16, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Kelso’s apartment and he was arrested. Officers seized multiple electronic devices.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Wan. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations.
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.”