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Child Exploitation

Illinois man found guilty of receiving, possessing child pornography

URBANA, Ill. - A local man was taken into federal custody on Thursday after a jury convicted him of receiving and possessing child pornography. The conviction resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Scott Halliday, 35, of Champaign, Ill., was taken into custody Feb. 11 after his criminal trial. After deliberating less than two hours, the jury returned guilty verdicts against Halliday on two counts of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Halliday, who was arrested by ICE agents last May, had been on bond with special conditions pending trial.

Over two days of testimony, the government presented evidence that Halliday received and possessed images of child pornography, including about 1.5 hours of videos collected over a six-week period. The sexually explicit images included young children held in bondage and being physically assaulted.

Sentencing for Halliday is scheduled for May 18. He faces a minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison on each count of receiving child pornography. The statutory penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years in prison. Both offenses carry up to a lifetime of supervised release following the prison term.

ICE was assisted in the investigation by the Illinois Attorney General's Office and the Champaign Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson, Central District of Illinois, is prosecuting the case.

"Child pornography victimizes the most vulnerable members of our society - our children," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE relentlessly pursues predators that sexually abuse and exploit innocent children for their selfish gratification."

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 12,000 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.