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Loami Man Sentenced For Child Porn Offenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2010

Springfield, Ill. – A Loami, Illinois man, Ronald L. Heaton, 52, of the 200 block of Church Street, was ordered today to serve 137 months in federal prison for receiving, reproducing, and possessing images of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Jeanne E. Scott ordered that Heaton remain on supervised release for the remainder of his life following completion of his prison sentence. Heaton has remained in the custody of U.S. Marshals since his arrest on May 4, 2009.

On July 7, Heaton entered open pleas of guilty to 15 counts of receiving images of child pornography, one count of reproduction and one count of possession of child pornography. At that time, Heaton also forfeited computer equipment and related items and programs used in the commission of the offenses. Heaton admitted that he received images of child pornography on his computer on various dates from September 5, 2005 to May 2, 2009.

The charges were the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Loami Police Department and other members of the working group including officers with the Decatur Police Department and the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson prosecuted the case.

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.

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