Springfield, Mo. -- (2/21/2018) A Springfield man who worked as a private tutor pleaded guilty in federal court today to the sexual exploitation of a child who was a former student.
John Paul Sparapani, 29, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to using a minor to produce child pornography.
On Aug. 16, 2017, Sparapani pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet. However, a 12-year-old student who was tutored by Sparapani came forward on Aug. 25, 2017, and disclosed that he sexually assaulted her. When the victim’s mother told her about Sparapani’s child pornography conviction, the child victim disclosed that Sparapani had sexually assaulted her during tutoring sessions since the age of 10.
On Jan. 23, 2018, the court granted Sparapani’s motion to withdraw that guilty plea; the original indictment will be dismissed in lieu of the charge filed.
An officer with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force identified Sparapani’s computer as sharing child pornography on a peer-to-peer file sharing network on May 25, 2015. Officers executed a search warrant at Sparapani’s residence on Dec. 21, 2015, and seized two laptop computers, three hard drives and a cell phone, which contained multiple images and videos of child pornography.
Soon after Sparapani pleaded guilty to the federal indictment stemming from that investigation, a former student disclosed to her mother that Sparapani had sexually assaulted her. According to the plea agreement, Sparapani used a private room at a public library for the tutoring sessions. The child victim told investigators that Sparapani took photographs of her with his cell phone. She also said he gave her candy and Pokemon cards as rewards.
Under federal statutes, Sparapani is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.