SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri man who was the target of an undercover investigation in the United Kingdom was sentenced last week for child sex crimes.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said Kody Kelso, pleaded guilty on July 6, 2022, to one count of sexual exploitation of a child to produce child pornography, and one count of using the internet and a cell phone to coerce and entice a child under the age of 14 to engage in illicit sexual activity.

According to court documents, Kelso used the teen dating app My LOL to contact a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, but in reality was a Europol undercover officer in the United Kingdom.

On several occasions, Kelso asked the “teen” to have sex with him and repeatedly asked for sexually explicit images during their chats between Jan. 7 and Feb. 2, 2021. Kelso also provided his email address and invited the teen to use Google Hangouts in order to send him nude pictures.

Investigators in Springfield also received tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding Kelso’s online activity and posting a video containing child pornography online.

The Springfield Police Department took Kelso into custody on June 16, 2021. Officers issued a search warrant for Kelso’s apartment and seized 19 electronic devices. Authorities found 26 images and 39 videos of child porn on Kelso’s computers.

Investigators also discovered Kelso had contacted approximately 560 My LOL users, all of whom were between the ages of 13 and 17, and initiated conversation by asking each child if they had an “age limit” and would bring up sexual topics. He propositioned some users to produce sexually-explicit images or engage in sexual conduct.

Kelso’s behavior wasn’t limited to My LOL, prosecutors said. Police found 7,900 different chat threads with different users across multiple social media outlets, including Discord, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Instagram, Kik, Skype, and Text Now. Kelso would occasionally send child pornography or salacious images of himself to these children.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Kelso to 19 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. He’ll spend an additional 15 years on supervised release following his incarceration.