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Springfield Man Arrested, Charged With Receiving, Possessing Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2009

Springfield, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois man, August R. Billek, 50, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles H. Evans this afternoon in federal court following his arrest yesterday on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Judge Evans ordered Billek, of the 800 block of East Miller, detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on January 22, 2009, a law enforcement officer identified a computer offering to participate in distribution of what appeared to be child pornography via a peer-to-peer network. The officer browsed the computer, later identified as Billek’s, and allegedly identified five movie files depicting children engaged in various sexual activity including with adult males and females.

According to the affidavit, a federal search warrant was executed at Billek’s residence on May 18, 2009. Billek’s girlfriend also resides at the residence and operates a home daycare business in the residence including children as young as 18-months through elementary school age. Billek works part-time as “Downtown the Clown” and as Santa Claus during the Christmas season, according to the affidavit; officers recovered business cards for “Downtown the Clown” and two Santa suits from Billek’s home.

The affidavit further alleges that an initial forensic examination of Billek’s laptop computer included 11 video files of child pornography; the forensic analysis of the desktop is pending.

If convicted, the offense of receiving child pornography carries a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison and up to 20 years. For possession of child pornography, the statutory penalty is up to 10 years in prison. Both offenses carry terms of supervised release of up to life following the term of imprisonment.

The charges are the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Springfield Police Department and other members of the working group including officers with the Decatur Police Department, Mattoon Police Department and the Illinois Secretary of State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson is prosecuting the case.

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

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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