Columbia man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Monday, February 3, 2014 | 3:33 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A former Boy Scouts leader from Columbia  pleaded guilty Monday to eight counts of receiving, distributing and producing child pornography, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office news release.

Ian Francis Burow, 24, pleaded guilty to eight counts of receiving and distributing child pornography between Dec. 27, 2010, and Aug. 1, 2011, and one count of producing child pornography on Oct. 14, 2011, the release states.

Burow used the alias "Sarah McGee" to entice six different victims between the ages of 14 and 17 to send him sexually explicit photos and videos through Facebook, Skype, Yahoo and via cellphone. As "McGee," Burow would send the victims photos of an unidentified woman, asking for reciprocation. Burow knew the victims through the Boy Scouts of America organization, of which he was a former Scout camp leader, and also claimed to know the non-existent Sarah McGee, describing her as  a "good friend."

Witnesses to some of Burow's activities confronted him, and he told them that he was working with the Boone County Sheriff's Department's Cyber Crimes Task Force to capture sexual predators, according to the release. It was the Task Force that later arrested him.

Burow must now hand over to the government all property and devices used to commit the pornographic offenses, according to the news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The case is being prosecuted as a part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. The project aims to "locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children."

Burow's sentencing hearing is not yet scheduled. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole. Burow is in federal custody and is being held without bond.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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