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Child Exploitation

Illinois man gets 35 years for using Facebook to lure teenage victims into sex

He videotaped sexual encounters; threatened victims he would post images on Internet

CHICAGO - A Fox Lake, Ill., man who used a social-networking site to lure teenage victims into having sex, then threatened to post the sexual videos on the Internet, was sentenced today in federal court to 35 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release. This sentence resulted from a criminal investigation conducted jointly by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Lake County State's Attorney.

Michael Macalindong, 25, was sentenced today in the Northern District of Illinois by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald A. Guzman. Macalindong pleaded guilty June 2 in federal court to eight counts of producing child pornography, possession of child pornography and attempted child enticement.

Macalindong was convicted of enticing a minor into having sex with him in August of 2006 and then threatening to expose the nude photographs to the victim's friends and classmates if the sexual encounters did not continue. Macalindong also videotaped another minor victim on two occasions and threatened to show the nude images to the victim's high school football team, as well as post them on Facebook, in an effort to persuade the victim to continue meeting him for sex.

Macalindong was arrested Jan. 31, 2007, by members of the Lake County State's Attorney's Office Cyber Crimes Unit after blackmailing one of his victims by demanding payment in exchange for not posting any videotapes of their encounters. The victim had contacted the police and Macalindong was arrested at a meeting he and the victim had arranged in a parking lot in Wilmette. He initially faced child pornography charges and sexual assault charges in Lake County Circuit Court before the case was transferred to federal court in May 2007.

The Lake County Children's Advocacy Center assisted in the investigation.

"This case reveals the disturbing truth that some adults will go to great lengths to sexually exploit minors," said Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "Unfortunately, we cannot restore lost innocence to those children who have been exploited by sexual predators. However, ICE helps ensure that justice is served. Identifying and investigating those who victimize children is one of the most important responsibilities we have."

"The Lake County State's Attorney's Office worked diligently to investigate and identify multiple victims of sexual assault in Lake County," said Lake County State's Attorney Michael J. Waller. "Lake County and its children are safer because of this work. We are pleased to be able to partner with ICE to protect the children of Lake County."

The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Siskel.

Macalindong's case is 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 11,500 child predators and sex offenders nationwide, including more than 600 in Illinois.

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

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.