MADIGAN: 25th and 26th CHILD PORN ARRESTS MARK FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION GLASS HOUSE
Attorney General’s Child Pornography Crackdown Will Now Target Offenders who Trade, View Violent Rape Videos
Belleville — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the 25th and 26th arrests of her Operation Glass House crackdown. The arrests came on the first anniversary of Madigan’s launching her initiative to seek out and arrest offenders who are viewing and trading child pornography online in Illinois.
Madigan, speaking at a news conference at the Belleville City Police Department, announced the arrests of two Belleville men: Garold Lee Semelka Sr., 61, and Mike G. Telkamp, 48.
“One year ago, I launched Operation Glass House to combat the unimaginable volume of horrific child pornography traded, downloaded and viewed in Illinois,” Attorney General Madigan said. “People viewing child pornography should assume that they are living in a glass house, and ultimately, we will find you, arrest you and put you behind bars.”
Assisting Madigan’s office in the arrests were the City of Belleville Police Department and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Our department could not have conducted such an investigation without the Attorney General’s specialized resources and skilled personnel,” said Belleville Police Chief William Clay. “Advances in technology, particularly in the area of social networking, have ushered in the unprecedented sharing of information and communication. However with any new technologies comes the threat of misuse by common criminals and dangerous predators.”
Semelka and Telkamp were each charged with 10 counts of possession of aggravated child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Bond for each defendant was set at $1 million. Semelka and Telkamp were arrested Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
“Today, because of the efforts of Attorney General Madigan, my office will be able to charge and aggressively prosecute these grotesque crimes,” said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly. “These predators need to know when local and state law enforcement work together, we will be relentless.”
In the first 12 months of Operation Glass House, Attorney General Madigan said investigations have revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of children – often infants and toddlers – being raped.
Operation Glass House’s second year will focus on targeting offenders seen trading and watching such videos.
“We have uncovered the most horrific and disturbing videos of young children – even infants – being raped and assaulted,” Madigan said. “Our investigations confirm what I have said from the start of this operation: Child pornography is not a victimless crime. It destroys the lives of its young victims.”
Attorney General Madigan launched Operation Glass House in August 2010 to find and arrest the worst child pornographers in Illinois by using the unique identifier that each computer is assigned when it accesses the Internet, known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. In the past 60 days, investigators from the Attorney General’s Office saw more than 3,700 IP addresses in Illinois trading images and videos of child pornography. Arrests since last year occurred in the following locations:
Attorney General Madigan said in its second year, Operation Glass House will have the benefit of a new, tougher law to help track offenders and sentence them for longer periods of time. Senate Bill 1035, which Madigan helped write and pass in Springfield, was recently signed into law by Governor Quinn.
The law authorizes prosecutors to issue administrative subpoenas for Internet-related child exploitation investigations. By using administrative subpoenas, investigators will be able to obtain the name and address behind an IP address more quickly, whereas before it could take up to 60 days to obtain the information due to infrequent grand jury meeting schedules. The new law also allows judges to impose consecutive sentences, instead of concurrent sentences, for offenders convicted of trafficking or possessing multiple child pornographic images or videos to ensure longer sentences for these offenders.
Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 374 arrests of sexual predators and provided Internet safety training and education to more than 169,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 12,000 law enforcement professionals.
The Attorney General said it is critical to continue making these arrests as studies show that users of child pornography are more likely to sexually abuse children. Of the 25,103 sex offenders listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, 81 percent committed a crime against a child. The public can view the Illinois Sex Offender Registry at www.isp.state.il.us.
The public is reminded that both defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.