HOMELESS MAN FROM EDWARDSVILLE SENTENCED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on April 29, 2011, Gary E. Shields, of Edwardsville, Ill.-, was sentenced in federal district court in East St. Louis to 120 months’ imprisonment, a life term of supervised release, a $100 special assessment, and a fine of $500 following his plea of guilty to a one-count Indictment charging him with Possession of Child Pornography.
Shields had been convicted previously of possession of child pornography in Madison County Case No. 07-CF-2322 on October 29, 2007.
In a pleading filed with the Court on January 27, 2011, the United States provided the following facts concerning the case:
Defendant was convicted of possession of child pornography in violation of 720 ILCS, Section 11-20.1(a)(6), on or about October 29, 2007, in Madison County Case No. 07-CF-2322, for which he was sentenced to probation.
Defendant has no permanent address - instead, he owns a truck and a small trailer/mobile home, which he moves around from time to time.
In April, 2010, his truck was parked on an Auto Zone lot near a Blimpie’s Restaurant in Madison county for several days. He was observed by a clerk at Blimpie’s, who saw him disappear into the rest room with a magazine or book; he stayed there for 45 minutes. He later charged something to his credit card. He also explained to the clerk that he was convicted of something for which he could not move from state to state. The clerk searched the internet for his name and discovered he was on a sex registry list.
The clerk became aware that Defendant moved his truck onto the Lewis & Clark campus, so she reported him to the police. On April 9, 2010, Edwardsville Police approached Defendant because by virtue of his prior conviction and sex registration, he should not have been on the campus. Defendant admitted to police that he was in possession of child pornography. Defendant gave police consent to search his vehicle; police found a thumb drive in the vehicle. The thumb drive contained numerous images of child pornography depicting children under age 18 (including one video of a child under 12 years old) engaging in sexually explicit activity. The production of each such images of child pornography involved the use of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Each of such images of child pornography in fact depicted one or more children under age 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Defendant told police that he had downloaded the images from the internet onto his thumb drive via a netbook that he had purchased at the Jerseyville Walmart. He accessed the internet at the Edwardsville Library. He later returned the computer to the Walmart and got his money back. He retained the images on the thumb drive and he viewed the images from the thumb drive by placing the thumb drive on an electronic picture frame that accommodates thumb drives.
Also discovered in Defendant’s possession were numerous writings, in which Defendant expresses his belief that child pornography should be acceptable in society and that sex between adults and children (including the adults’ own children) should be acceptable and not illegal.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen B. Clark and was investigated by the Edwardsville Police Department.