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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 28, 2021

Belleville Man Indicted for Producing Child Pornography

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A St. Clair County man is under federal indictment on multiple charges involving producing and distributing sexually explicit images of minors. Zachary Dennert, 19, of Belleville, Illinois, is accused of coercing two minors, including one under the age of 12 years old, to produce visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct. The offenses occurred between January and August 2020.


The four-count federal indictment further alleges that Dennert transported images of a third minor victim  in  August  2020  and  distributed  an  image  of  child pornography  over  the  internet in September 2020.

On May 26, 2021, Dennert appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty and entered 
a not guilty plea. He is being held in custody pending a detention hearing next week.

Each count of producing child pornography is punishable by at least 15 years and up to 30 years in 
prison. For the other charges, Dennert faces a possible penalty of 5-20 years’ imprisonment. All 
four counts are also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty 
beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by O’Fallon Police Department and United States Secret Service. 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandria Burns is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 
by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 
Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and  
Obscenity  Section,  Project  Safe  Childhood  marshals  federal,  state,  and  local  resources  
to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and 
rescue    victims.    For    more    information    about    Project    Safe    Childhood,    
please    visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.   For   more   information   about   internet   safety   
education,   please   visit
www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
 

Updated May 28, 2021