Articles Posted in Child Pornography

A former Dixmoor police officer is being held on $1 million bail after being found in possession of dozens of images of child pornography. The officer faces three felony charges related to the possession of child pornography. Police found 35 images on his phone. In some cases, the girls pictured on the phone were described as “prepubescent.” 

In some states, you can be charged for each image found in your possession. In Illinois, they will charge you for each depiction of a minor. In this case, three victims were found on the defendant’s phone. Hence, he is facing three felony charges related to the possession of child pornography. The same girl was found in several of the pictures. Police will track down the victim to determine if more criminal charges are justified. If the defendant created the pornography, then that is another crime the state can add to the ledger. 

Police were tipped off when child pornography was found in the account of the defendant’s email. The tip was sent to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which forwarded the tip to law enforcement, which confronted the officer and seized three phones from his possession, all of which contained the files in the tip. 

Notable actor Jerry Harris, who skyrocketed to fame after his appearance in Netflix’s “Cheer” docuseries, is facing charges related to child pornography. The Cook County native is alleged to have solicited sexual pictures and videos from boys as young as 13 years old at cheerleading competitions. 

Harris has been on talk shows, the Oscars, and has more than 1 million followers on Instagram.

Harris Arrested by the FBI

A former Chicago Public Schools football coach has been accused of sexual misconduct with one of his players. This individual is also accused of taking nude photos of the student and then posting those photos in the victim’s apartment building and in areas that would be on the way to his school. 

Curtis Thomas worked at the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute High School when the alleged assault occurred. His official title was “school community representative.” Thomas was fired in 2014 and placed on a “do not hire” list. 

CPS officials are not speaking publicly about the incident. They refused to indicate whether Thomas was a football coach on the team when the student was assaulted. Prosecutors, however, said that Thomas was among the football coaches on the team at the time of the assault. The boy was 15 in 2010 when the assault occurred. 

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300R. Kelly has been denied a request to seek release from jail during the coronavirus outbreak. The disgraced singer’s attorneys filed a request for bond with the U.S. District Court in Chicago. Attorneys for Kelly claimed that because of his advanced age (53) he was at high risk of contracting and suffering severe symptoms of the coronavirus. Kelly’s attorneys also stated that hand sanitizer and soap are difficult to find at the present moment and that inmates are kept in small cells and are not practicing social distancing.

Nonetheless, the court rejected Kelly’s request and the embattled pop star is not elderly enough to be considered in the high-risk group. Kelly had also undergone a recent surgery for a hernia, but the court ruled that it did not place him in a substantially higher risk group than others. Lastly, federal authorities reported that the prison has enough soap and hand sanitizer for everyone. The final nail in the coffin was that there were no reports of the virus among inmates.

Prosecutors Cite Kelly as a Flight Risk

joshua-coleman-ZVkDLrXGMdw-unsplash-copy-300x208Federal agents have seized 100 electronic devices after executing a search warrant of R. Kelly’s property. The seizure has resulted in a postponement of R. Kelly’s trial while investigators and prosecutors determine whether or not there is any new information that can potentially be used to charge Kelly with more crimes. 

The information came out during a routine arraignment during which Kelly was being charged with abusing a minor victim over the course of four years beginning in 1997. 

The trial had been set for April 27 but is now likely to be postponed while investigators determine whether or not there is anything actionable on the iPads, cell phones, and other electronic devices found in the raid. 

glenn-carstens-peters-npxXWgQ33ZQ-unsplash-copy-300x200A Wheeling School District middle school teacher is facing charges of possession of child pornography, dissemination of child pornography, and unlawful video recording. Each of these is a felony. The Illinois State Attorney General’s office released a statement concerning Scott Pollack (45) of Lake in the Hills. Pollack’s residence was searched and the search uncovered evidence of alleged child pornography.

If convicted, Pollack would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 54 years behind bars. Below, we will take a look at each of the charges.

Possession of Child Pornography

fabian-grohs-396734-copy-300x240At the same time that Illinois has eliminated the statute of limitations on sexual assault, an Oak Forest man is accused of predatory sexual assault of a minor, possession of child pornography, and 23 other felony crimes related to those two main counts. The sexual assault is alleged to have been perpetrated against a minor under the age of 13.

Jason Akai was indicted earlier this month and can face between six and 30 years for each felony count of criminal sexual conduct toward a minor. He was also charged with 19 counts of felony possession of child pornography, which would tack on another 15 years.

Alongside Akai, Kimberly Schubert is being charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor under the age of 13 and felony possession of child pornography. Schubert has also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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While the First Amendment protects the right of adults to watch and produce pornography, this right is not without limitations. For example, child pornography is not protected under the First Amendment and is always illegal. Child pornography is any visual depiction of a minor, aka a person under 18 years old, engaging in a sexual activity. In recent years the federal government has become more and more focused on prosecuting those who have allegedly produced, distributed, or viewed child pornography.

One of the most recent child pornography cases in Illinois involves a Yorkville man who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for a child pornography conviction and for violating the Sex Offender Registration Act, reports MyInforms.com. As the man had been convicted of child pornography related crimes three times before, the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office conducted a compliance check in December 2015 to confirm that the Yorkville man was in compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Act. MyInforms.com notes that via this compliance check the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force discovered that approximately 100 images depicting child pornography had been downloaded to the man’s personal computer. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found that the man was illegally in possession of images showing children younger than 13 years old engaged in sexual acts. The man was charged with five counts of possessing child pornography depicting a child less than 13 years, which is a Class 1 felony.

The Sex Offender Registration Act

file2261243267180Illinois is extremely hard on those convicted of sex crimes. In many cases, the law requires those convicted of sex crimes to register on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, which is a public database. For any number of reasons, people fail to register or renew their registration, sometimes through no fault of their own. So, what happens if you do not register?

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Illinois

Failing to register as a sex offender in Illinois, or failing to renew your registration, means you can be charged with a Class 3 felony. If it is the second or subsequent time that you failed to register as a sex offender, or failed to renew your registration as a sex offender, then you can be charged with a Class 2 felony. This means that you will be required to spend a minimum of seven days in jail and pay a minimum fine of $500, although a Class 2 felony could carry a sentence of three to seven years.

A Wheaton man was arrested in late January and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography. A forensic examination of the defendant’s home computer, which was seized following the issuance of a search warrant, uncovered evidence of child pornography that had been downloaded to, and distributed from, the computer.

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Defense of DuPage County Possession of Child Pornography

In Illinois, a defendant is guilty of possession of child pornography if he knowingly possesses any visual depiction of a child engaged in a sexual act. Possession of child pornography is a specific intent crime. If the defendant did not intend to have the pornography in his possession – if it was obtained without his knowledge – then he cannot be found guilty, as “knowingly” is a specific element of the crime.

In defending against a possession of child pornography case, it is extremely important to examine all of the facts to determine if any of the evidence raises the possibility that the defendant did not knowingly possess the photographs or other visual depictions. A forensic examination of the defendant’s computer by computer expert, independent of the police and prosecutor’s examination(s), would need to be conducted to help answer the following questions. A “yes” answer for any of them would raise reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant knowingly came into possession of child pornography:

  • Did a third-party have access to the defendant’s computer?
  • Were the pornographic images purposely downloaded, or were they unknowingly installed as part of an adware or malware attack?
  • Were the images installed via an e-mail attachment that was opened?
  • Were the images downloaded after clicking on a link in an e-mail?
  • Were the images obtained from a site that a reasonable person would have known had child pornography?

The police investigation also found that the images on the defendant’s computer were distributed. A person is guilty of distribution if he knowingly distributes, or offers to distribute, any visual depiction of a child engaged in any sexual act. Again, the defendant must have had knowledge that he was distributing pornographic images. It could not have been done on accident or through no fault of his own.

A complete examination of the defendant’s computer by an independent computer expert would need to be done to help answer the following questions:

  • Did anybody have access to the defendant’s computer at the time the photos were distributed?
  • Does anybody else know the defendant’s login and password for his computer and/or e-mail account?
  • Was the defendant’s e-mail system hacked?
  • Did the defendant’s computer contain any spam, malware, adware, or other virus laden program that sent the e-mails without his knowledge?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it would raise reasonable doubt that the defendant had the requisite knowledge to satisfy that specific element of the crime. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., has access to a team of independent computer experts who will thoroughly examine the defendant’s computer, as well as review the police and prosecution experts’ report, to determine if any evidence supports the theory that the defendant had no knowledge that the pornographic images were downloaded to, or distributed by, his computer.

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