SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A federal jury here deliberated for one hour before returning guilty verdicts against a Quincy man for enticing young girls on the Internet and distributing child pornography. This conviction resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the FBI, the Quincy Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Ohio.
Jeffrey Dean Chambers, 49, was convicted in federal court Thursday in the Central District of Illinois of using the Internet to entice minors to engage in sexual activity, and distributing child pornography. Chambers remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending his scheduled Sept. 14 sentencing date.
Evidence presented by the government during a 2½-day trial that began April 14, showed that Chambers attempted to entice 13- and 14-year-old girls to have sex with him. Evidence was also presented that Chambers' computer contained graphic images and videos of children, including toddlers engaged in sexual acts with adults.
For enticing a minor, the mandatory minimum statutory penalty is 10 years to life in prison, and up to a lifetime of supervised release. For distributing child pornography, the mandatory minimum is five years in prison and up to 20 years in prison and a lifetime supervised release following the term of imprisonment.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory K. Harris and Elly M. Peirson, Central District of Illinois, are prosecuting this case.
"Many children daily are victimized by child molesters and predators via contact through the Internet," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE is committed to apprehending and prosecuting anyone abuses children and endangers their lives and well-being. We will continue working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to bring to justice anyone who tries to hurt children."
Chambers was arrested as 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 11,600 child predators and sex offenders nationwide. For more information about Operation Predator, visit www.ice.gov.
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.