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Child Exploitation

Illinois man sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for producing child pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A local man was sentenced Monday to nearly 20 years in prison for producing child pornography for rent money. This lengthy sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Lincoln (Ill.) Police Department.

Anthony L. Ferguson, 25, was sentenced Jan. 7 by U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough to serve 235 months (19 years and seven months) in federal prison for producing child pornography. Judge Myerscough ordered Ferguson to remain under supervised release for life after he completes his prison term.

Ferguson has been in U.S. Marshals Service custody since his arrest in March 2012, along with co-defendant Laura J. Sigler, 26.

In July 2012, Ferguson pleaded guilty to producing child pornography with a 5-year-old girl in November 2011 when Ferguson and Sigler were living at the Budget Inn in Lincoln, Ill. According to court documents, Ferguson and Sigler used the child pornography images to secure rent money. On Dec. 6, Sigler also pleaded guilty to these charges. Sentencing for Sigler is scheduled for April 15.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass, Central District of Illinois, prosecuted this case.

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 1-866-347-2423 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.