Grand Jury Indictments Charge Defendants With Child Pornography In Unrelated Cases
Peoria, Ill. – A federal grand jury yesterday afternoon returned three separate, unrelated indictments that charge defendants in the Central District of Illinois with child pornography offenses:
Johnathan W. Pierce, 29, of the 1000 block of Armstrong Ave., Peoria, Ill., charged with eight counts of receiving child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Pierce was previously arrested on Aug. 8, 2013, and charged by complaint. U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman ordered that Pierce remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service; Washington Police Department; the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Peoria Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk D. Schoenbein is prosecuting the case.
Michael E. Ontiveros, 50, of the 2000 block of North Evandale, Decatur, Ill., charged with one count of possession of child pornography. Ontiveros was arrested and charged by complaint on Aug. 7, 2013. U.S. Magistrate judge David G. Bernthal ordered that Ontiveros remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Decatur Police Department; and, the Illinois Secretary of State. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson is prosecuting the case.
Jorge Muhedano-Hernandez, 29, of Elmond Drove, Bloomington, Ill., charged with one count each of production of child pornography, illegal re-entry after removal from the United States, allegedly in Tucson, Ariz., about Nov. 4, 2012; and possession of fraudulent identification documents. The indictment also charges two other defendants, Jorge Muhedano-Martinez, 54, and Maria Ignacia Antonio-Cruz, both also of Elmond Drive, Bloomington, Ill., with one count each of possession of fraudulent identification documents.
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Bloomington Police Department; and, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk D. Schoenbein is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for receipt of child pornography is five to 10 years in prison; for possession of child pornography, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison. If convicted for the offense production of child pornography, the penalty is not less than 15 years to 30 years in prison. For possession of fraudulent identification documents and for illegal reentry after deportation, the penalty is up to ten years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The cases were 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.