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Press Release

Former State Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

Springfield, Ill. – A former Illinois prison guard, Steven L. Carson, of Hillsboro, Ill., has entered pleas of guilty to charges that he sexually exploited a minor, and that he distributed and possessed images of child pornography. Carson, 46, appeared in federal court in Springfield on Feb. 21, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore. Sentencing has been scheduled before U.S. District Judge Richard Mills on June 21, 2013.

Carson has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest in August 2012, when he was charged with distribution of child pornography in a federal criminal complaint. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, the Sacramento, Ca. division of the FBI’s Cyber Crime Unit was conducting an undercover investigation of peer-to-peer file-sharing accounts in April 2012, when an undercover agent conducted a file sharing session with Carson. At the time, Carson was employed as a prison guard at Graham Correctional Center.

Carson was indicted by a grand jury, and on Feb. 21, 2013, pled guilty to three counts: sexual exploitation of a minor; distribution of child pornography; and possession of child pornography. In court documents and during the court hearing, Carson admitted that in January 2000, he used a child to perform sexually explicit conduct which he videotaped. Further, Carson admitted that he engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing of child pornography, including prepubescent boys; and that he possessed images of child pornography, including more than 2,300 images and 40 videos which agents recovered from Carson’s computers. Carson also agreed to forfeiture of computers and related electronic equipment.

The statutory penalty for sexual exploitation of a minor is a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison to 20 years in prison. For distribution of child pornography, the penalty is a mandatory minimum of five years to 20 years in prison; for possession of child pornography, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison. The defendant may also be ordered to remain on supervised release for a term up to life.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory K. Harris and Bryan D. Freres.

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 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

Updated June 22, 2015