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Press Release

Suburban Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Amassing Child Pornography Collection

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

CHICAGO — A suburban man has been sentenced to more than a dozen years in federal prison for amassing a collection of nearly 200,000 images and videos of child pornography.

JONATHAN STEPHENS, 50, of Forest Park, used a computer to access file-sharing software and download child pornography.  Over a period of at least four years, Stephens amassed a collection of approximately 194,000 sexually explicit images and videos that he stored on computers and external hard drives in his home and which he allowed other users to access and download.  Many of the minors in the images and videos were under the age of 12 and forced to engage in sadistic and masochistic conduct.

Stephens pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of transportation of child pornography.  U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman on Wednesday sentenced Stephens to 12 years and seven months in prison, to be followed by nine years of supervised release.  Judge Guzman also ordered Stephens to pay $187,500 in restitution to the known child victims.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.  The case was investigated by the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, specifically members from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County State Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, as well as  the Forest Park Police Department.

“The defendant’s victims are numerous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice W. Appenteng argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Each child depicted in the images and videos went through a horrible experience and continues to relive that suffering and endure new suffering because of the defendant’s actions.”

The government was represented in the case by Ms. Appenteng and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Jodrey.

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 or by calling 1-800-843-5678.  The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Updated February 27, 2020

Violent Crime