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Springfield Man Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2009

Springfield, Ill. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging a Springfield, Illinois man previously charged by criminal complaint with child pornography offenses. The indictment charges August R. Billek, 50, of the 800 block of East Miller, with one count of distribution of child pornography; two counts of receiving child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The indictment alleges that Billek distributed images of child pornography on or about January 22, 2009; that he received images of child pornography from February 19, 2008 to December 28, 2008, and from February 5, 2009 to May 5, 2009; and that he possessed child pornography on May 18, 2009. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of computer equipment and related items.

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.

Following his arrest, on May 19, 2009, Billek appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles H. Evans who ordered Billek remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.

If convicted, each count of the offenses of receiving and distributing child pornography carry 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 U.S. 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, Illinois Secretary of State Police, and the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment 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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