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July 20, 2012

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN: JACKSONVILLE MAN ARRESTED ON CLASS X CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

Arrest Nets State’s Most Prolific Downloader of Child Porn in the Last Month

Springfield — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the arrest of a Jacksonville man who allegedly downloaded the most child pornography in the state over the past 30 days.

The arrest of Michael W. Brown, 28, is the latest in Madigan’s Operation Glass House, a crackdown on the state’s most active traffickers who download and trade child pornography online.

Brown was arrested and charged with two counts of Reproduction of Aggravated Child Pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was arrested this morning at his Illinois Avenue residence and is being held in the Morgan County Jail on a $200,000 bond.

“This arrest is one of the most significant we’ve made to date in the two years since we launched Operation Glass House, and it demonstrates how relentless we are in putting a stop to this heinous victimization of children,” Madigan said.

Investigators with Madigan’s office made the arrest working with the Jacksonville Police Department and with the assistance of the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s office.

“Jacksonville police are always anxious to work with Attorney General Madigan and our local officials to put child pornographers on notice that we intend to protect our communities from their sickening actions,” said Police Chief Tony Grootens.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Chris Reif will prosecute the case, which remains under investigation. The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

This arrest is the 33rd of Operation Glass House, an initiative Madigan launched in August 2010 to apprehend child pornographers in Illinois. In the first year of Operation Glass House, Madigan’s investigations revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of children being raped. As part of its second year, Operation Glass House has focused on targeting offenders seen trading and watching these extremely violent videos involving children as young as toddlers.

To track child pornographers online, investigators use the unique identifier that each computer is assigned when it accesses the Internet, known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. In the last 120 days, 3,200 Illinois IP addresses were seen trading child pornographic images, according to investigators in Attorney General Madigan’s office.

This ongoing initiative will benefit from a new law that Madigan helped write and pass in the General Assembly last year, which helps investigators track offenders and requires longer sentences when they are convicted. The law authorizes prosecutors to issue administrative subpoenas for Internet-related child exploitation investigations. By using administrative subpoenas, investigators can more quickly obtain the name and address behind an IP address and move the investigation forward, whereas before it could have taken investigators up to 60 days to obtain this critical information due to infrequent grand jury meeting schedules.

Madigan’s office, with a grant from the Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 447 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to nearly 244,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 14,200 law enforcement professionals. Currently, 171 agencies are affiliated with the Illinois ICAC.

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