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Hancock County Man Arrested, Charged with Receipt, Possession of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2010

Peoria, Ill. – A federal grand jury this afternoon returned an indictment charging S. Christopher Ford, 28, of Hamilton, Illinois, with receiving and possessing images of child pornography. Ford was previously arrested and charged in a criminal complaint filed on June 8, 2010. During a hearing on June 14, before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman, Ford waived a detention hearing and was ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.

The indictment charges Ford with three counts of receiving computer files depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possession of child pornography. Further, the indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of computer equipment and related items used in the commission of the alleged offenses.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, during a federal search warrant of Ford’s residence on June 7, 2010, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office recovered files from Ford’s computer that allegedly contained sexually explicit images of preteen boys.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of receiving (three counts) child pornography is a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison. For possession of child pornography (one count), the penalty is up to 10 years in prison. Each of the offenses carry terms of supervised release of up to life following any term of imprisonment.

The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greggory R. Walters.

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.

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