WEST PLAINS, Mo– Former West Plains Schools employee, 31-year-old Cody Ashton Ary has been sentenced to 17 years in prison without parole for sexually exploiting children and distributing child pornography. Ary was also ordered by the court to pay $6,000 in restitution.

According to court documents, Instagram initiated a CyberTip with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Dec. 3, 2019, after Ary uploaded a sexually explicit video of an 8-to-10-year-old boy to his account. Investigators found a total of 92 chat conversations between Ary and other Instagram users.

Ary used the screen name “15anime_boy” and identified himself as a 15-year-old male to other users. He solicited sexually explicit videos and images from other users who were identified to be minor males. Ary received dozens of images and videos of child pornography through his Instagram account.

Ary asked the child victims to send him videos and images of them stripping in exchange for Ary providing Internet links to folders that contained child pornography.

The case was part of a nationwide initiative that started in 2006 by the Department of Justice called, Project Safe Childhood to help fight the child exploitation and abuse epidemic.