PEORIA, Ill. – A Bartonville, Illinois, man, Collin Hale, 41, has been sentenced to 88 months in prison, 15 years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine for Soliciting an Obscene Visual Depiction of a Minor. As part of his plea of guilty entered on June 30, 2021, the defendant agreed to the forfeiture of a cell phone.
On February 18, 2020, Hale solicited an obscene visual depiction of a person he believed to be an eight-year-old minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Unbeknownst to Hale, he was engaging in conversations with an FBI agent. Following his arrest on February 24, 2020, Hale has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal.
In discussing the seriousness of the offense, U.S. District Judge James Shadid commented that even though there was no victim here, there was plenty of conversation about what had occurred prior to his arrest.
The statutory penalties for Soliciting an Obscene Visual Depiction of a Minor are up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000, a $5,000 fine pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, and supervised release for a period of up to life.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn Knauss and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul B. Morris represented the government in the prosecution.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. 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.