Granite City Man Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Production of Child Pornography
A Granite City man pled guilty on August 8, 2012, to an Indictment charging him with two counts of Production of Child Pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Jason E. Starko, 36, of Granite City, Ill., faces a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen (15) years but not more than thirty (30) years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to life on each count. In addition, upon his release from prison, Starko must register as a sex offender as a condition of his supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for November 30, 2012, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Starko has been detained by the USMS (held without bond) since his arraignment on December 23, 2011.
The violations occurred between August 7 and August 12, 2011, when the defendant resided with a female friend and her two minor children in Granite City. On August 12, 2011, the female friend reported to the Granite City Police Department that she believed that the defendant had molested her two minor children. The defendant was subsequently arrested.
After the defendant was arrested, an individual found a digital camera that the defendant had left in his/her house. This individual viewed the contents of the camera and saw sexually explicit videos involving minors. This individual turned over the digital camera to the Granite City Police Department. During a forensic review of the defendant’s digital camera, officers recovered two videos involving the female friend’s 5 year old minor child. These videos depict the minor child’s nude genital area. In one of the videos, the defendant’s hand is seen touching the minor child’s genitals in order to get a closer view of the child’s nude genital area.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The case was investigated by the Granite City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.