Wayne White | Managing Editor
OSAGE CITY—A former Osage City councilman was indicted by
a federal grand jury last week on two counts of receiving or distributing
child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
The FBI arrested Jason Croucher, 26, at 834 Main St., Osage City,
Friday, according to Osage City police. A press release issued by
the U.S. Attorney’s office Monday said Croucher’s residence
was in Osage City, although his place of residence could not be
Croucher was released from custody Friday, pending trial on the
crimes, which the indictment said occurred on or about May 11, 2009,
May 14, 2009, and June 22, 2009.
According to Jim Cross, public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney
in the District of Kansas, Croucher was released according to conditions
set by the U.S. District Court of Topeka, and no bond was set.
“He will be reporting his whereabouts to the court,”
Cross said Monday. “He will be supervised during the time
he is released pending trial.”
Thomas Haney, Topeka, confirmed Monday he had been retained as Croucher’s
attorney. Haney said Croucher “would not want to make a statement”
about the charges, but noted the indictment “only involves
the use of the Internet.”
Haney described the indictment as serious, but said, “[Croucher]
is not charged with abuse of children or trying to entice any children.
There was no direct communication with any children or attempt to
communicate with any children.”
Court docket notes indicate the court entered not guilty pleas on
all counts for Croucher, who remained silent.
The indictment, which was issued by the grand jury June 2, says
Croucher “did knowingly and intentionally receive and distribute,
by computer, visual depictions of minors, the production of which
involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct
The third count of the indictment alleges Croucher possessed one
or more matters which contained visual depictions of minors engaging
in sexually explicit conduct.
U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch requests in the indictment that if Croucher
is convicted of the crimes, that he forfeit an Apple laptop computer,
a Dell desktop computer, and an iPod Nano.
If convicted, Croucher faces a penalty of not less than five years
and not more than 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count
of receiving and distributing child pornography, and a maximum penalty
of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the possession charge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart is prosecuting the case.
On June 22, 2009, witnesses observed FBI agents at Croucher’s
then-residence in Osage City. Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn confirmed
at the time she had been requested to assist the FBI at the residence,
but declined to state the reason for the FBI’s visit. The
FBI refused to confirm or deny whether an investigation was ongoing
and declined to give a reason for their presence at the residence.
Croucher resigned as a member of the Osage City Council on July
21, 2009, without giving a reason. He was elected to the position
in April 2007. Croucher had been an employee at The Osage County
Herald-Chronicle until he resigned in June 2008.
The case is being prosecuted as part of the Justice Department’s
Project Safe Childhood, introduced in 2006 to combat the increase
of sexual predators using the Internet to entice and sexually exploit