TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) A former high-ranking Kansas Bureau of Investigation official pleaded guilty to a child sex crime Thursday morning.
Former KBI Deputy Director Kyle Smith pleaded guilty to one felony count of sexual exploitation of a child involving a photograph Smith had on his phone and computer.
Smith appeared before Judge Cheryl Kingfisher.
Arrested in February, Smith was accused of possessing a photo of a nude teenage girl under the age of 18 in a sexually explicit pose.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Todd Hiatt did not want to appear on camera, but he told 13 News last November Smith accidentally sent an email containing the picture to a KBI secretary, who then notified her supervisors.
Smith was the number 3 man at the KBI. The agency announced Smith was no longer employed on December 9.
The District Attorney's office and FBI were able to find the image on the KBI server and tie it back to Smith's Yahoo email account.
Hiatt said there is no evidence Smith knew the girl or took the picture, nor was it connected to his work at the KBI.
The picture was taken to Dr. Steven Crouch, a pediatrician at Stormont-Vail for examination. Based on anatomical characteristics, Crouch advised the KBI that the girl in the picture was significantly under 18 years old.
The recommended Kansas sentencing range for a level 5 felony for a person with no criminal record is 31 - 34 months. Hiatt did note the court could find an appropriate treatment program would be more effective and suspend his sentence.
Two less-severe charges of Interference With Law Enforcement were dropped, including allegations that Smith had tried to destroy evidence on his phone and computer.
Smith had been scheduled for an April 3 court appearance before today's plea. He will be sentenced by Judge Kingfisher on May 28 at 1:30 p.m.
The Kansas statute that defines sexual exploitation of a child states: "possessing any visual depiction of a child under 18 years of age shown or heard engaging in sexually explicit conduct with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires or appeal to the prurient interest of the offender or any other person."
Posted by Sarah Plake
Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated the potential sentence for this level of crime would run 50-55 months and treatment could be possible in lieu of a prison sentence. The sentence range has been amended. Also, treatment would not replace prison time, although the court could suspend the sentence.