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May 6, 2015Springfield, IL, United StatesChild Exploitation

Indiana man charged with sexually exploiting Illinois minor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging an Indiana man with sexually exploiting a minor and possessing child pornography, announced Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.

This indictment resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Decatur (Illinois) Police Department.

Shawn Shannon, 43, of Muncie, Indiana, was charged with one count each of sexually exploiting a minor and possessing child pornography.

The indictment alleges that from Feb. 28 to March 1, Shannon enticed, used and coerced a minor from Macon County, Illinois, to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce images of this conduct.  The indictment further alleges that Shannon possessed images of child pornography during that same time period.

Shannon’s arraignment is scheduled for May 12 before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal in the U.S. courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for sexually exploiting a minor is 15 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; the penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. 

Shannon was previously charged in a criminal complaint and was arrested April 15 in Muncie. He appeared before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce April 20, and was ordered to remain detained in U.S. Marshals Service custody.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson, Central District of Illinois, is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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.

Updated: 06/03/2015