Arkansas Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Distribution Of Child Pornography, Boone Police Help With Investigation

Last Updated on March 15, 2024 11:41 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cannon Earl Kress, 50, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today for distribution of child pornography, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Upon his release from prison, Kress will be subject to a lifetime of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell also ordered Kress to pay $18,000 in assessments and restitution.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Chief Andy LeBeau of the Boone Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and today's sentencing hearing, in October 2022, Kress started a group on Kik where members of the group posted child pornography images and videos and discussed their sexual interest in children. An undercover detective infiltrated the group and downloaded child pornography videos that Kress had uploaded to the group. The undercover detective also chatted with Kress via the Kik messenger application. During those communications, Kress expressed an interest in engaging in illicit sexual acts with a five-year-old female child and arranged with the detective to meet and have sex with the child. On November 2, 2022, Kress traveled to Hickory, North Carolina, for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the child. Law enforcement was waiting for Kress at the pre-arranged meeting location and arrested him. Law enforcement seized Kress's phone and discovered child pornography videos on it. 

On October 10, 2023, Kress pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography. At today’s sentencing hearing, the Court granted the government’s request for the maximum 20-year sentence due, in part, to the nature and circumstances of Kress’s offense.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended HSI and the Boone Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Kimlani Ford of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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