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Child Exploitation

Illinois man sentenced to 14 years in prison for child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A Petersburg man who worked at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency was sentenced Tuesday for possessing and distributing child pornography using a work computer. This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Keith Chambers, 48, of Petersburg, Ill., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeanne E. Scott to 14 years in federal prison. Chambers was also sentenced to remain on supervision for life upon his release.

Chambers pleaded guilty to the offenses July 28. ICE's investigation revealed that he distributed approximately 20 images of child pornography via the Internet on Feb. 12, 2008. Chambers also admitted to possessing images of child pornography from February through May 2008.

While in an Internet chat room known to law enforcement as a fetish/incest site, Chambers engaged in an exchange with a law enforcement officer working undercover with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. Chambers requested an exchange of child pornography images and sent approximately 20 images of child pornography to the undercover officer. Law enforcement officers traced the e-mail address to Chambers and ICE executed a federal search warrant May 1, 2008, on Chambers' work computer.

"The exploitation of innocent children for the purpose of entertainment is wrong and we will not tolerate it," said Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of the ICE office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE will continue its resolve to bring to justice purveyors and partakers of child pornography. Today's sentencing is a clear demonstration of that commitment."

Agencies participating in the Illinois Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force worked cooperatively with Ohio's ICAC and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office in Ohio to investigate the case. Agencies participating in the Springfield Cyber Crimes Task Force include ICE, the FBI, the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office and the Springfield Police Department.

This case was also investigated as 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 11,600 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.

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/.