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Justice News

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

Friday, May 8, 2015

Former Columbia Resident Pleads Guilty To Receipt Of Child Pornography And Possession Of Prepubescent Child Pornography

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on May 7, 2015, Dan Stephen Daniels, 59, formerly of Columbia, IL, pled guilty to a two-count Indictment charging him, in Count 1, with Receipt of Child Pornography, and, in Count 2, Possession of Prepubescent Child Pornography. On Count 1, Daniels faces a term in federal prison of not less than five years but not more than twenty years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life. On Count 2, Daniels faces a prison term of not more than twenty years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life. Daniels’ sentencing is scheduled for October 2, 2015, in East St. Louis, Illinois. Daniels has been detained (held without bond) since his arraignment on the Indictment on February 20, 2015.

Facts revealed in Court showed that the charges arose after an undercover Internet investigation by the FBI’s Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force downloaded approximately fourteen images of child pornography between February 9, and August 5, 2014, from a computer in Illinois that was offering the images to share. An investigation traced the computer to the Daniels’ residence in Columbia, Illinois. A federal search warrant executed at the Daniels’ residence on October 17, 2014, produced an eMachines desktop computer, an Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer, and a SanDisk 4 GB thumb drive. A forensic examination of these devices revealed that these devices contained images and/or videos of child pornography, many of which involved prepubescent minors or minors who had not attained 12 years of age. The examination also revealed that, on or about October 12, 2014, Daniels downloaded and received two images of child pornography, one of a prepubescent male engaged in sexual intercourse with an adult female and the other of a prepubescent female in the lascivious display of her genitals.

During the search of his home, Daniels provided a voluntary statement to law enforcement officers in which he admitted using peer to peer programs to download and view child pornography, and provided the name of the current program that he was using. Daniels said that he had used the program as recently as October 13, 2014, to obtain child pornography. Daniels said that he would save the image and/or video files of child pornography either in a separate folder with an innocuous name such as "empty," "hard drive," or "other files," or he would save the child pornography to a thumb drive. He said that he would view the child pornography once or twice and then delete it. Daniels told the agents that he gravitated towards image and video files of children between the ages of 10 and 17, and that he used search terms commonly associated with child pornography in order to find child pornography involving younger girls.

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."

The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.

Updated May 8, 2015