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Grand Jury Indicts Macoupin County Man Charged with Possessing Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2010

Springfield, Ill. – A federal grand jury today returned an indictment that charges Howard D. Shockey, 59, of Girard, Illinois, with possession of child pornography. The one-count indictment alleges Shockey possessed images of child pornography on July 7, 2010.

On July 9, Shockey was arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Shockey is the Pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Girard and serves as a chaplain at the Pleasant Hills Nursing Home in Girard. The affidavit alleges that law enforcement was notified that Shockey had been observed viewing images of child pornography on a computer while at the nursing home. Shockey was released on bond following a hearing on July 13 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for possession of child pornography is up to 10 years in prison. The offense also carries a term of supervised release of up to life following any term of imprisonment.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service Southern Illinois Cyber Crime Unit; the Girard Police Department; and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory M. Gilmore 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.

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