KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Missouri, man who was caught discussing plans online to sexually abuse a child pleaded guilty in federal court today to distributing child pornography.
Joshua Evan Lilley, 30, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to one count of distributing child pornography and one count of receiving child pornography over the internet.
According to today’s plea agreement, an FBI employee from the Knoxville, Tennessee, division was acting in an undercover capacity on April 30, 2021, targeting individuals on a social media site (not identified) who were actively engaged in sharing, distributing, and/or producing child pornography. The undercover FBI employee was in contact with a site user (not identified) who sent Lilley images and videos of child pornography, which that individual had produced.
Messages between Lilley and the user involved a conversation about a child victim, to whom the user had access, and whom Lilly wanted to sexually abuse. Lilley sent the user images and videos of child sexual abuse; one involved bestiality. That individual was arrested, and consented for an FBI covert employee to assume their online identity.
Lilley sent at least six videos of child sexual abuse to the FBI covert employee. Lilley also sent a link to approximately 184 videos of child sexual abuse that he had collected.
Lilley said he was involved with other groups on the social media site that shared child pornography. He asked to meet the FBI covert employee for dinner and a drink. Lilley said he wanted to meet in person before going any further in their plans. When Lilley arrived for the meeting, the FBI covert employee sent him a message that he wasn’t going to be able to make it, and there was no meeting. A surveillance team followed Lilley as he returned home.
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Lilley’s residence on May 5, 2021, and seized his iPhone, iPad, laptop computer and a thumb drive, each of which contained child pornography. Investigators also seized five glass containers and eight bags that contained marijuana, a loaded Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol with additional ammunition, a Savage Arms .22-caliber rifle, and $12,020 in cash.
Under federal statutes, Lilley is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison D. Dunning. It was investigated by- the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
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.”