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Press Release

Springfield Illinois Man Sentenced to 96 Months in Prison for Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois man, Robert Merriman, 25, of the 1000 block of South Fourth Street, has been sentenced to 96 months imprisonment followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, for distribution and possession of child pornography. Merriman was arrested and indicted in March of 2020 and pleaded guilty in October of 2022.

At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that between April of 2019 and August of 2019 the defendant engaged in the receipt, distribution, and trading of child pornography of prepubescent children using multiple online applications. According to the defendant’s own statements, he “owned” a group on Reddit with 900 members where he posted child pornography.   

During the hearing, Senior U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough found that the defendant’s conduct included distributing and receiving over six hundred images or videos of child pornography, and that at least one of the images included sexually explicit conduct involving a toddler or portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct.

The statutory penalties for distribution of child pornography are not less than five years but not more than twenty years in prison, up to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The statutory penalties for possession of child pornography are not more than ten years in prison, up to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

The United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case, with assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Assistant United States Attorney Tanner K. Jacobs represented the government in the prosecution.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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

Updated March 27, 2023

Project Safe Childhood