Timothy Scholtes, 46, of Coal City, Ill., was sentenced Aug. 17 in the Northern District of Illinois to 50 years in federal prison for manufacturing and receiving child pornography. At the sentencing hearing, Scholtes was found to have sexually molested six minor boys in the Coal City area, most of them in the three years prior to his arrest. One of the boys was the subject of the child pornography that Scholtes had manufactured.
Scholtes was arrested in June 2009 after ICE agents searched his residence and computer. He pleaded guilty in October to one count of manufacturing and two counts of receiving child pornography, but denied that he had sexually molested any minors. He later tried to withdraw his guilty plea, which was denied by a judge.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman imposed the 50-year sentence after a hearing at which he heard from family members of seven minor victims, including some who were solicited but not actually molested. The judge imposed the maximum prison term of 30 years on the manufacturing count and 10 years on each of the two receiving counts, with all of the terms to be served consecutively. The sentence was imposed for both general deterrence and to ensure that Scholtes is incapacitated from inflicting any future sexual abuse, the judge said.
"You pronounced a life sentence on these kids," Judge Gettleman remarked when imposing the sentence. Scholtes must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence (42 1/2 years) before he is eligible for release. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
"Mr. Scholtes used his positions as fireman, paramedic and soccer coach to prey on his young victims," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI Office in Chicago. "He continued to prey on children by producing and sharing his large collection of child pornography. The significant prison sentence that he received is well-deserved."
Hartwig oversees a six-state area including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Evidence in the case showed that a computer belonging to and used by Scholtes contained about 200 images and 18 videos depicting child pornography, including three photographs that he had taken of himself with one of his victims.
The investigation of Scholtes began in May 2009 when ICE agents learned from local authorities that a 10-year-old player on Scholtes' soccer team refused to ride with Scholtes because he told his parents that Scholtes had made a sexual solicitation while driving him home after a soccer practice. That solicitation did not result in any sexual abuse, according to the court record.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimes, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted the case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.