SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Carthage, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for sexually exploiting a child from Michigan whom he met online.
Charles Ward Kuentzel, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough on Tuesday, April 18, to 24 years and five months in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Kuentzel to 20 years of supervised release following incarceration. Kuentzel will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements, which may apply throughout his life.
On Sept. 12, 2022, Kuenzel pleaded guilty to one count of the sexual exploitation of a child. Kuentzel admitted that he used a child victim to produce child pornography from Sept. 1, 2020, to April 21, 2021.
The mother of the child victim, identified in court documents as Jane Doe 1, contacted law enforcement in Michigan because her daughter was in an inappropriate online relationship with an adult man. The child victim told investigators she met Kuentzel in a public Discord game server, through which they communicated. FBI agents in in the Detroit division were able to identify Kuentzel in the online chats, in which Kuentzel and the child victim sent one another sexually explicit images of themselves. Kuentzel engaged in video chats and sexual conversations with the victim.
Officers executed a search warrant at Kuentzel’s residence on Aug. 26, 2021, and seized his cell phone and microSD card. Numerous images of the child victim, including child pornography, were found on the cell phone and the microSD card.
During the forensic examination, investigators also found several sexually explicit images of another child victim, identified in court documents as Jane Doe 2. She told investigators she was 14 years old when she met Kuentzel on Omegle, and they communicated through the Snapchat and Kik applications. Kuentzel requested nude images from Jane Doe 2, which she provided. Today’s sentence encompasses this criminal behavior with a sentencing enhancement for Kuentzel’s pattern of illegal sexual conduct.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Wan. It was investigated by the FBI, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, and the Canton, Mich., Police Department.