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Project Safe Childhood: Petersburg Man Charged With Possessing, Distributing Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2008

Springfield, Ill. - A federal grand jury today charged a Petersburg, Illinois man, Keith E. Chambers, with possession and distribution of child pornography. The indictment alleges Chambers, 48, of the 700 block of North 5th Street in Petersburg, distributed child pornography via the Internet on or about February 12, 2008 and that he possessed child pornography from February 2008 through May 1, 2008.

Agencies participating in Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force worked cooperatively with Ohio’s ICAC to investigate the allegations.

U.S. Attorney Rodger A. Heaton stated, “This case is another example of the effective cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement in defense of children. We will continue to do all that we can to prevent the Internet from being used to exploit children.”

"I am pleased that my high tech crimes unit and Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children task force have been able to provide valuable expertise and work cooperatively with Ohio investigators and the U.S. Attorney's Office to bring these charges today, said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. "We have the technology and are committed to using all of our resources to hold child pornographers accountable for their crimes."

"ICE is committed to bringing all of its law enforcement resources to bear on cases like this that involve the greatest violations of public trust," said Michael Mitchell, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Springfield. "We've made it an agency priority to stop predators from using the Internet to abuse and exploit innocent children. ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and the victims of child sexual exploitation are at the top of that list."

If convicted, distribution of child pornography carries a statutory minimum penalty of five years to 20 years in prison. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Both offenses carry terms of up to life supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons for Chambers to appear in federal court in Springfield.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The Attorney General’s office, through a grant from the Department of Justice, operates the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), one of 59 task forces across the nation designed to investigate child exploitation crimes and to provide Internet safety education. From its inception in October 2004 through April 2008, the Illinois ICAC task force provided Internet safety training and education to more than 50,000 parents, children and professionals. The Illinois ICAC also responded to more than 1,139 cyber tips, conducted 483 forensic exams, made 185 arrests, issued 915 subpoenas, executed 307 search warrants, and given 286 presentations.

Agencies participating in the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force include Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office and the Springfield Police Department. The task force is a multi-agency group which investigates computer crime cases on behalf of local, federal and state law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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