URBANA, Ill. — A Taiwanese graduate student attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was indicted Wednesday on child pornography charges. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Champaign Police Department, and the East Central Illinois Cyber Crimes Working Group.
A federal grand jury charged Mu-Tsun Tsai, 27, of Champaign, Ill., with distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography. Tsai was previously arrested and charged in a criminal complaint July 24. U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal ordered Tsai to remain in U.S. Marshals Service custody.
The indictment alleges that Tsai distributed child pornography images via the Internet from about March 21 to April 30. Tsai is also charged with two counts of receiving and one count of possessing child pornography.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of a computer and related items allegedly used to commit or promote the offenses.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for distributing and receiving child pornography is a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison, as well as up to a lifetime of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. If a defendant has a prior child sex abuse or child pornography conviction, the statutory penalty is not less than 15 years and up to 40 years in prison. For possessing child pornography, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.