HARTFORD MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
A Hartford man pled guilty on March 28, 2011, to an Information charging him with receipt of child pornography, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Scot J. Baalman, 39, Hartford, Ill.-, faces a term of imprisonment of not less than five (5) years but not more than twenty (20) years, and a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to life. Sentencing is scheduled for July 25, 2011, in East St. Louis. Baalman was detained pending sentencing.
The violation occurred between September 27 and November 2, 2010, when the defendant downloaded visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images were discovered after a forensic review was conducted of the defendant’s computer which had been turned over to authorities by another person (this person, being a victim, will not be identified further). This person took custody of the computer after finding two (2) close-up photos of a minor’s nude pubic area and vagina. Defendant’s father told Secret Service agents that the defendant admitted to him that he had taken the photographs of the minor that were discovered by the person. The defendant’s computer also contained a large amount of child erotica, many of which involved prepubescent females.
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 United States 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.
The case was investigated by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Secret Service. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.