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Child Exploitation

Illinois man arrested, charged for receiving and possessing child pornography

URBANA, Ill. — A local man was arrested Monday for allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the police departments of Urbana, Ill., and Mattoon, Ill.; and the Office of Illinois Secretary of State; all are members of the East Central Illinois Cybercrime Working Group. The Oakwood (Ill.) Police Department also provided assistance.

Donald Cunningham, 47, of Urbana, was arrested July 16 by HSI special agents. A federal grand jury returned an indictment last week, but it remained sealed pending Cunningham's arrest and court appearance. Cunningham is charged with three counts of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

The crimes allegedly occurred in 2010 and 2011 when Cunningham lived in Oakwood, Ill. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of Cunningham's computer and electronic equipment allegedly used to commit the offenses.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of receiving child pornography is a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to 20 years in prison. For possessing child pornography, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. The defendant may also be ordered to remain under supervised release for life following any term of imprisonment.

Pending trial, Cunningham was released on bond with special provisions, including home detention and compliance with the U.S. Probation Office's Computer and Internet Monitoring Program.

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.