CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man has been arrested on federal child pornography charges for allegedly enticing a minor to produce sexually explicit images.
TERCALO E. THOMAS, 32, of Park Forest, Ill., is charged with two counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of an electronic device containing child pornography, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Thomas is currently detained in law enforcement custody. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes.
According to the indictment, Thomas produced the child pornography after inducing and enticing the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct. He also possessed a cell phone that contained images of a prepubescent minor who had not attained 12 years of age, the indictment states.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each production count is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of 30 years. The possession count carries a maximum sentence of ten years. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by logging on to www.missingkids.com or by calling 1-800-843-5678. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.