News and Press Releases

Belleville Man Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Offenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012

Belleville man, Garold Lee Semelka, 62, pled guilty in federal district court on June 28, 2012, to a two-count Information charging him with Receipt of Child Pornography (Count 1) and Possession of Child Pornography (Count 2), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Semelka also agreed to the forfeiture of the computer he used to receive and possess child pornography. Sentencing is scheduled for October 12, 2012, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Semelka was detained pending sentencing.

On Count 1, Semelka faces a term of imprisonment of not less than five (5) years but not more than twenty (20) years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to life. On Count 2, Semelka faces a term of imprisonment of not more than ten (10) years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five (5) years to life.

The violation charged in Count 1 occurred on April , 2011, when Semelka downloaded at least three (3) video files of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, including the video charged in the Information, from the internet.

The violation charged in Count 2 occurred on August 24, 2011, when officers executing a search warrant at Semelka’s residence recovered, among other things, a HP Pavilion computer. A forensic review of the computer revealed over 600 image and/or video files of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Semelka provided a voluntary, videotaped statement to law enforcement officers in which he admitted possession of the child pornography on the HP Pavilion, stating that he was the sole user of this computer. Semelka also admitted downloading and viewing image and/or video files of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct from the internet using a file sharing program. Finally, Semelka stated that he believes that he has been downloading and viewing child pornography for eight (8) to 10 years, and that he had downloaded child pornography approximately one (1) to two (2) weeks prior to this interview.

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 Illinois Attorney General’s Office and was done as a joint prosecution effort with the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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