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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Former State Prison Guard To Serve 43 Years In Prison For Child Exploitation, Pornography

Springfield, Ill. – U.S. District Judge Richard Mills this afternoon sentenced former Illinois correctional officer Steven L. Carson, of Hillsboro, Ill., to serve 520 months (43 years, 4 months) in federal prison, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. Carson pleaded guilty in February 2013, to charges that he sexually exploited a minor, and that he distributed and possessed images of child pornography.

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. Carson admitted that 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.

The charges were investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.

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