GUILTY PLEA IN POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced
today that on January 27, 2011, Gary Shields, age 29, of Edwardsville, Illinois, pled guilty in federal
district court, East St. Louis, Illinois, to a one-count Indictment charging him with Possession of Child
Pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B).
The maximum penalties that can be imposed for this violation are 20 years’ imprisonment, a
$250,000 fine, or both, a supervised release term of life, and a $100 special assessment. The minimum
sentence of imprisonment that can be imposed is ten years. The minimum term of supervised release
that can be imposed is five years.
A Memorandum filed with the Court alleges that the factual basis for the plea is as follows:
Defendant was [previously] 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 and 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
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 investigated by agents of the Edwardsville Police Department. The case was
prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.