Illinois Man Charged with Child Exploitation Offenses
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, and Chief Vincent DeMaio of the Clinton Police Department, announced that a federal grand jury in Bridgeport returned an indictment today charging ARTURO CASTRO, 52, of Wilmette, Illinois, with multiple child exploitation offenses.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in approximately December 2013, CASTRO began communicating with a 15-year-old female in Connecticut through “Chess with Friends,” and online app. Using the app’s chat option, CASTRO asked the minor victim to send him naked photographs of herself, and subsequently enticed the minor victim to create videos depicting the minor victim engaged in sexually explicit conduct and send those videos to CASTRO. In March 2014, CASTRO traveled from Illinois to Connecticut and engaged in illicit sexual activity with the minor victim.
The indictment charges CASTRO with one count of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; one count of travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years; and one count of receipt of child pornography, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
CASTRO was arrested on December 13, 2016, in Wilmette, Illinois. In a detention hearing earlier today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago, CASTRO was detained pending trial and ordered removed to the District of Connecticut.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in New Haven and Chicago, and the Clinton (Conn.) Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss.
This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.