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Justice News

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Martial Arts Instructor Pleads Guilty To Six Counts Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

Christopher M. Horton, 20, of Highland, Illinois, plead guilty today in the United States District Court to an indictment charging him with five counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and one count of Attempt Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today.

Documents filed in US District Court establish that while employed as a martial arts instructor at a studio in Belleville, Illinois, Horton sexually abused three students between the ages of 6 and 10 years and video recorded these acts using his Apple i-Phone. Horton also attempted to engage a fourth minor in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing a recording of the conduct. Approximately 57 video files containing child pornography were recovered from Horton’s cellular phone, which were created between the dates of May 1, 2012, and February 9, 2013. During an interview with law enforcement, Horton confessed to sexually abusing the minors and to having produced video recordings of the abuse using his cellular telephone.

Horton is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2014, at which time he faces a term in prison of not less than fifteen (15) years but not more than 30 years on each count, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not less than five (5) years, up to and including, a lifetime of supervision once he is released.

The case was investigated by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force, the Highland, Illinois, Police Department and the Belleville, Illinois, Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ali Summers.

Updated February 19, 2015