Indictments Charge Two Men in Separate Cases for Alleged Attempted Child Sex Crimes
URBANA, Ill. – The grand jury has returned indictments against two men in separate, unrelated cases resulting from FBI Springfield Field Office undercover operations.
A four-count indictment charges James Russian, 55, of the 400 block of north Niles Avenue, Tuscola, Ill., with attempted enticement of a child to engage in illegal sexual activity; attempted sexual exploitation of children; attempted sex trafficking of minors; and, attempted receipt of child pornography. Russian was previously arrested and charged in a criminal complaint on April 24, 2020, and was ordered detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
In a separate case, a three-count indictment charges Caleb Hickman, 45, of Granger, Ind., with attempted enticement of a minor; attempted sexual exploitation of children; and, attempted receipt of child pornography from Feb. 14 to May 26, 2020, in Kankakee and Champaign counties. Hickman was previously charged in a criminal complaint and was arrested on May 26, 2020, in Indiana. Hickman made an initial appearance on May 29, 2020, in the Northern District of Indiana. Hickman deferred his detention hearing to the Central District of Illinois and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for transfer to Central Illinois.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints, each of the men allegedly used social media applications to contact and engage with FBI online covert employees. Russian allegedly communicated with an adult who purported to have access to an eight-year-old girl, and offered to pay to have sex with the minor. Hickman communicated with an FBI online covert employee who was posing as a 14-year-old minor and allegedly made arrangements for the minor to travel from Champaign, Ill., to South Bend, Ind., to engage in sexual activity.
The cases were investigated by the FBI Springfield Field Office. The FBI Indianapolis Field Office assisted in the investigation of Hickman. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson is representing the government in the case prosecutions.
If convicted, for the offense of attempted enticement of a minor, the statutory penalty is 10 years and up to life in prison; for attempted sexual exploitation of a child, the penalty is 15 to 30 years in prison. Sex trafficking of minors carries a penalty of 15 years to life for a minor under 14 years of age. Attempted receipt of child pornography carries a penalty of five years to 20 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.