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Kankakee Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Federal Prison for Producing, Trading Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2010

Urbana, Ill. – A Kankakee, Ill. man, Thomas Fairclough, 38, of the 700 block of South Evergreen Avenue, will serve 50 years in federal prison after he pled guilty in August to producing, advertising, possessing, and distributing thousands of images of child pornography over the past 12 years. Fairclough appeared this afternoon before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey, who further ordered that upon completion of his prison sentence, Fairclough remain on supervised release for the remainder of his life.

“As a trader and collector of child pornography for more than a decade, Fairclough used the anonymity and accessibility of the Internet to network with others in this criminal enterprise and to exploit children who trusted him,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis. “The images and the harm done to those victims cannot be erased, but through the hard work of the Special Agents in the FBI and our state and local partners, we can bring some justice to these children and protect the community from dangerous child predators.”

Stu McArthur, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Springfield Division stated, “The FBI will aggressively pursue online predators through our 'Innocent Images National Initiative.' In concert with our Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to rooting out the most dangerous child predators to ensure our communities are safe and justice is served.”

Fairclough, a registered sex offender with two prior felony convictions for aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Kankakee county, pled guilty in August to the federal charges. 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 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 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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