ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – A Missouri task force teamed up with several law enforcement agencies to help rescue an 8-year-old child Friday in St. Charles County who was a victim of sexual exploitation.
Authorities executed a search warrant Friday as part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of Ronald Lawrence, a 23-year-old man who was suspected of possessing, producing, and distributing child pornography videos and photographs. St. Charles police say the victim was found at Lawrence’s home in the 1400 block of Rue Street with another man.
“I am relieved that this child is now safe in protective custody and the suspect has been arrested,” says St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz. “MO ICAC and Cyber Crime unit detectives conducted a thorough investigation into the suspect’s online activities, which led to the victim’s rescue.”
Through extensive forensic examination and interviews, investigators have identified a second victim and have reason to believe there may be more.
“We remain committed to protecting our youth from these unfathomable experiences and encourage any potential victims to contact authorities,” Chief Frisz says.
Prosecutors have charged Lawrence with first-degree statutory sodomy. Lawrence is being held in the St. Charles County Department of Corrections with no bond.
The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the St. Charles County Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit and the St. Charles County Regional SWAT Team all assisted with Friday’s rescue. MO ICAC is a multi-jurisdictional investigative unit that focuses on the identification, investigation, and apprehension of online child sexual exploitation offenders.