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Child Exploitation

Illinois man charged with possessing, distributing child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A federal grand jury today charged a Petersburg man with possessing and distributing child pornography. This indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The indictment alleges Keith E. Chambers, 48, of the 700 block of North 5th St. in Petersburg, Ill., distributed child pornography via the Internet on or about Feb. 12, 2008, and that he possessed child pornography from February 2008 through May 1, 2008.

Agencies participating in Illinois' Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force worked cooperatively with Ohio's ICAC to investigate the allegations.

U.S. Attorney Rodger A. Heaton stated, "This case is another example of the effective cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement in defense of children. We will continue to do all that we can to prevent the Internet from being used to exploit children."

"I am pleased that my high tech crimes unit and Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children task force have been able to provide valuable expertise and work cooperatively with Ohio investigators and the U.S. Attorney's Office to bring these charges today," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. "We have the technology and are committed to using all of our resources to hold child pornographers accountable for their crimes."

"ICE is committed to bringing all of its law enforcement resources to bear on cases like this that involve the greatest violations of public trust," said Michael Mitchell, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Springfield. "We've made it an agency priority to stop predators from using the Internet to abuse and exploit innocent children. ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and the victims of child sexual exploitation are at the top of that list."

If convicted, distribution of child pornography carries a statutory minimum penalty of five years to 20 years in prison. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons for Chambers to appear in federal court in Springfield.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Agencies participating in the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force include ICE, the FBI, the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office and the Springfield Police Department. The task force is a multi-agency group that investigates computer crime cases on behalf of local, federal and state law enforcement agencies.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.

Chambers was arrested as part of Operation Predator, a national ICE initiative that protects children by investigating and presenting for prosecution pedophiles, Internet predators, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,900 child predators and sex offenders nationwide, including more than 580 in Illinois. For more information about Operation Predator, visit www.ice.gov.

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.