Grand Jury Charges Kankakee Man with Producing Child Pornography
Peoria, Ill. – A federal grand jury today returned an indictment that charges Thomas Fairclough, 37, of the 700 block of South Evergreen Avenue, Kankakee, Illinois, with one count each of production; possession; distribution; receipt and advertising images of child pornography. Fairclough is also charged with committing a felony offense involving a minor while designated as a sex offender. Further, the indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of camera and computer equipment and related items used in the commission of the alleged offenses.
On Oct. 27, Fairclough was arrested and charged by a criminal complaint. U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal ordered that Fairclough remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.
The indictment alleges that from June 2008 to Oct. 2009, Fairclough coerced minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the conduct. According to the indictment, Fairclough has a prior sex offense conviction. Fairclough is also charged with possession, distribution and receipt of images of child pornography. Further, the indictment alleges Fairclough advertised child pornography via computer notice that sought and offered to receive, exchange, display and distribute images of child pornography.
If convicted, Fairclough, charged as a registered sex offender, faces enhanced penalties of up to life in prison for production of child pornography and a mandatory minimum 25 to 50 years in prison for advertising child pornography with a mandatory 10 years in prison to be served consecutive to any prison term imposed. If convicted, Fairclough faces additional statutory penalties of a mandatory minimum 15 years to 40 years in prison for distribution and receipt of child pornography; and for possession, mandatory minimum of 10 years to 20 years in prison. Each offense carries terms of up to life supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and members of the working group including the East Peoria Police Department, with assistance from the Kankakee Police 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 U.S. 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.
James A. Lewis
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