Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roeland Park Man Pleads Guilty To Role In International Child Pornography Case

Michael D. Arnett, a 38-year-old former emergency medical technician who resides in Roeland Park, has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. Arnett also had pictures of a one to two-year-old child lying inside an oven, and had discussed killing and eating children in online chats.

Arnett has admitted that he took photos of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts between 2000 and 2008. He was charged in May with three child pornography counts, and has been linked to an international conspiracy to distribute illegal images of children. The United States Homeland Security was able to identify Arnett last year by noticing a water bottle in a photograph that contained the logo of a Johnson County pool. Later, investigators were able to find two teens that cited abuse from Arnett when they were younger.

This international investigation into a child pornography ring, also known as Operation Holitna, has produced 34 arrests outside of the United States and 16 in the USA.  According to Homeland Security, around 160 child victims have been identified and rescued. Operation Holitna began in 2010, when pornographic images were discovered that did not originate in the USA. The images were later traced to a daycare center in the Netherlands, and the operator of the center was charged.

In August, a friend of Arnett’s, Robert Poe III of Kansas City, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing two boys and transporting a minor for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act.

According to Arnett’s plea agreement, he will not ask for a sentence less than 20 years, and prosecutors will not ask for a sentence of more than 30 years.

What is even more unsettling about Arnett’s case is that discussions involving him killing and eating children have been found online. A Florida man who chatted with Arnett about these actions has been charged, but has claimed that these were merely fantasies that he would never act upon.

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