Lansing man sentenced to 2.5 years for sexual exploitation of child

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A Lansing man has been sentenced to more than 2.5 years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Curtis Ray Shepherd, 29, was sentenced Wednesday to two years and eight months for two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Shepherd was charged after Google determined 13 files containing images and video of suspected child pornography may have been in the possession of a person identified with an email associated with Shepherd. Google submitted this information to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The case then was submitted to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, according to County Attorney Todd Thompson.

Investigators for the KBI reviewed the images and confirmed they were child pornography. A search warrant was obtained for an internet protocol address, which was associated with a location in Lansing. KBI agents searched the Lansing location and made contact with Shepherd. Investigators found additional child pornography on Shepherd's cell phone, according to Thompson.

Shepherd pleaded guilty to the two charges last month as part of a plea agreement.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Shepherd's case was considered what court officials refer to as a border box case. This means the judge could have sentenced Shepherd to probation if the defense demonstrated certain findings.

As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution did not oppose probation if the appropriate findings were made.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman denied a motion by Shepherd's attorney, Gregory Robinson, for a non-prison sentence.

"The court does not believe the defendant has met the burden," Kuckelman said.

The judge said Robinson had demonstrated programs were available to treat Shepherd for drug addiction and a bipolar diagnosis. But Kuckelman said he did not know how the defendant would be treated for issues related to Shepherd's viewing of child pornography.

Robinson argued that Shepherd's crimes were not on the same level of child molestation because the defendant had not physically touched children.

But Kuckelman said consumers of child pornography are victimizing children by creating a demand.

As part of the sentence, Shepherd was given credit for 390 days he already spent in custody.

Kuckelman said Shepherd will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years.