Kankakee Man Pleads Guilty to Producing, Trading Child Pornography
Urbana, Ill. – A Kankakee, Illinois man, Thomas Fairclough, 38, of the 700 block of South Evergreen Avenue, entered pleas of guilty today to charges that he produced, advertised, possessed, and distributed thousands of images of child pornography over the past 12 years. Fairclough appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal, in federal court in Urbana. Sentencing is scheduled on Nov. 19, 2010.
Fairclough pled guilty pursuant to an agreement that provides that the defendant may withdraw his plea if the court does not accept the sentence recommended by the government and defendant. In this case, the parties have agreed to recommend that Fairclough serve 50 years in federal prison and remain under supervised release the remainder of his natural life. Fairclough, a registered sex offender with two prior felony convictions for aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Kankakee county, may also be ordered to pay restitution to victims of the offenses.
According to court documents, investigators recovered approximately 48,800 photos and 9,800 videos of pornographic images depicting boys, ages six to 13, and as young as infants, on various computer media seized from Fairclough’s residence on Oct. 27, 2009. Fairclough further admitted that he produced images of child pornography in order to have more material to trade with others. In July 2009, an FBI undercover officer logged into an undercover account on a peer-to-peer network and observed an individual, subsequently identified as Fairclough, offering to trade files containing child pornography. The agent downloaded 31 files, including four video files, of various known, identified child victims, including images of adult males performing sexual acts with pre-pubescent-aged males.
The charges were investigated 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.
Fairclough has remained detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on Oct. 27, 2009.
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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