SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former assistant principal at Nixa Junior High School in Nixa, Missouri, pleaded guilty in federal court today to soliciting sexually explicit photos from a 13-year-old victim by posing online as a teen girl.
Colby Fronterhouse, 41, of Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of receiving child pornography. Fronterhouse was employed as an assistant principal at the junior high school at the time of the offense; he was terminated on Feb. 8, 2021.
A Christian County sheriff’s deputy was contacted by a 13-year-old child victim and his father in September 2020. The child victim, identified in court documents as “John Doe,” had been engaging in a series of text messages for approximately a week with Fronterhouse, who posed as a 14-year-old girl. Fronterhouse, posing as a 14-year-old, encouraged John Doe to transmit sexually explicit images of himself to Fronterhouse, made specific requests for poses or types of images, and had sexually explicit conversations with John Doe.
Investigators learned that the phone used by Fronterhouse was a burner phone number with a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) account, but they were able to trace the account to Fronterhouse. Officers executed a search warrant at Fronterhouse’s residence on Jan. 26, 2021, and he was arrested. Investigators seized Fronterhouse’s cell phone and found evidence linking his cell phone to the burner account. Investigators confirmed that Fronterhouse had access to the child victim’s cell phone number through school records.
Under federal statutes, Fronterhouse is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Wan. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Christian County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
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