Former Independence youth minister sentenced to 30 years in child porn, sex case

05/16/2014 4:36 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

A former Independence youth minister who, according to federal authorities, produced child pornography and had a long history of preying upon young victims was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Dennis W. Myers, 53, had pleaded guilty in August to transporting a minor across state lines for illegal sexual activity and to receiving child pornography over the Internet. Myers admitted having sex with a teenage girl whom he had driven from Arkansas to the Kansas City area.

During the sentencing hearing Friday, federal prosecutors said Myers was a sexual predator who received and produced child pornography. He also repeatedly sexually exploited and molested young girls over a 25-year period, the prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Myers served as youth pastor in the late 1980s at a Methodist church in Independence before he resigned and moved to Springdale, Ark.

After arriving there, one of his Independence victims wrote a letter to his new congregation and said Myers had fondled her. However, Myers intercepted the mail and then wrote the victim, trying to persuade her not to tell them what happened because it would create a scandal at the church, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham.

Myers left that church in 1994 and started a disc jockey business and trained a 15-year-old girl to assist him. About that time, Myers began having sex with the girl, federal authorities said.

In 1997, Springdale police arrested Myers for allegedly giving alcohol to a minor, fondling her and photographing her in the nude. He pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Myers was sentenced to two days in jail and given two years of probation.

Myers later moved to Blue Springs. After two teen girls complained that Myers gave them alcohol and had sexual contact, police searched his home and seized a computer. Investigators found a video of child pornography that had been downloaded from the Internet.

On Friday, Myers apologized for his actions, said he looked forward to receiving treatment and said he would accept any punishment imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Greg Kays.

Myers said that his porn addiction “grew like a cancer” and he “chose the path of least resistance.”

In announcing his sentence, Kays said that as a youth minister, Myers repeatedly betrayed the trust of parents who had placed their children in his pastoral care, “where we think they should be the safest and not subjected to terrible, sick acts.”

Myers also faces statutory sodomy and attempted enticement of a child charges in Jackson County.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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