ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – A Silvis, Illinois, man, Aaron Ruthey, 43, was sentenced on January 17, 2024, to an aggregate 210 months of imprisonment, to be followed by ten years of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography, sale of child pornography, and possession of child pornography. Ruthey was further ordered to pay restitution totaling $67,500.00 to nine victims.
At the sentencing hearing, the United States presented evidence establishing that Ruthey was engaged in the advertisement of and ultimate sale of an online collection of child pornography. Ruthey has remained in federal custody since his arrest on August 17, 2022.
Also at the hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow found that Ruthey not only sold child pornography but was an active participant in the child pornography market and capitalized on harm to the victims. Judge Darrow explained that Ruthey’s actions, including adding commentary to two of the images, increased the marketability and the demand for the content. Within the content Ruthey sold were videos and images depicting the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers.
Ruthey pleaded guilty in June 2023 to all charges. The statutory penalties for the distribution of child pornography are five to twenty years of imprisonment; for the sale of child pornography, five to twenty years of imprisonment; and for possession of child pornography, up to twenty years of imprisonment. The penalties on each count include supervised release terms ranging from five years to life.
“This sentencing demonstrates the importance of collaboration between our state and federal partners in ensuring justice for and the safety of children in our community,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer L. Mathew.
“The U.S. Secret Service remains committed to investigating and arresting individuals who sexually exploit children and transmit child sexual abuse material,” said Stephen S. Webster, Resident Agent in Charge, Springfield Resident Office, United States Secret Service. “We are proud of our partnerships with the federal, state, and local agencies who work collectively to investigate and prosecute crimes against minors. These predators cause significant and long-lasting damage, and we are dedicated to holding them accountable.”
“When law enforcement agencies work together, bringing multiple resources to the table, it is a force multiplier. Combatting crimes against children often takes this kind of collaboration,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “FBI Springfield values the relationships we have with our law enforcement partners, because those relationships result in safer communities.”