Springfield, Ill. – Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, announced that a federal grand jury in Springfield returned an indictment today that charges Shawn Shannon, 43, of Muncie, Ind., with one count each of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
The indictment alleges that from Feb. 28, to March 1, 2015, Shannon enticed, used and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing visual images of said conduct. The indictment further alleges that Shannon possessed images of child pornography during that same time period.
Shannon’s arraignment is scheduled for May 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal in the U.S. courthouse in Urbana.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for sexual exploitation of a minor is 15 to 30 years in prison plus a fine of up to $250,000; the penalty for possession of child pornography is up to 10 years imprisonment plus a fine of up to $250,000.
Shannon was previously charged in a criminal complaint and was arrested on Apr. 15, 2015, in Muncie, Ind. Shannon appeared before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce on April 20, and was ordered to remain detained in U.S. Marshals Service custody.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Decatur Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.