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Child Exploitation

Former Illinois police officer sentenced to 25 years in prison for producing, possessing child pornography

URBANA, Ill. - A former local police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Macon County Sheriff's Department, and the Decatur Police Department.

Matthew Aukamp, 44, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey on Feb. 22 to 300 months in federal prison. Aukamp, of Macon, Ill., was also ordered to a lifetime of supervised release following his prison term. Aukamp was previously employed as an officer with the Decatur, Ill., Police Department.

Aukamp was arrested on April 7, 2010 after a grand jury returned an indictment charging him with one count of producing and two counts of possessing images of child pornography. Since his arrest, Aukamp has been detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

On Nov. 1, 2010, Aukamp pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He admitted that from Oct. 31, 2004 to March 14, 2008 he coerced minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct so he could produce visual depictions of the conduct. He also admitted to possessing child pornography.

According to the indictment, between Oct. 31, 2004 and March 14, 2008, Aukamp allegedly coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, and he produced images of child pornography with the child. The indictment further alleges that Aukamp possessed child pornography.

"Sexually exploiting children is a crime that has traumatic effects on the most vulnerable members of our society," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Chicago "ICE and its law enforcement partners work tirelessly to investigate child predators who seek to sexually exploit innocent children."

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.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. 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.