You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mahomet Man Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Child Pornography

Urbana, Ill.  – A Mahomet, Ill., man, Michael L. Denight, 59, has been ordered to serve 15 years in federal prison for photographing minor-aged victims and possession of child pornography.  U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced Denight on Nov. 25, 2013.  Denight was also ordered to remain on supervised release for the remainder of his life following completion of his prison sentence.  Denight has been detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on federal charges in early 2012. 

On May 17, 2013, Denight pled guilty to six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.  Denight admitted that he had video-recorded minors in the bathrooms of his home beginning in 2000 and continuing through 2007. 

According to court documents, the investigation began after a customer at a Champaign coffee shop reported to an employee that she believed there was a video recording device mounted in the ladies’ restroom.  A man, later identified as Denight, was observed approaching the ladies’ restroom and then quickly leaving the coffee shop.  When the customer and employee entered the restroom, the device was gone, and the man had left behind several personal items, including a cell phone, at the coffee shop.  The cell phone was provided to the Champaign Police Department.  At the time of his arrest, on Feb. 17, 2012, Denight was employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, in Champaign.

The charges were investigated by the Champaign Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).   The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of Illinois, Urbana Division, with the cooperation of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. 

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.

Updated June 22, 2015