ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN: MASON COUNTY MAN ARRESTED ON
"Operation Glass House" Nets Prolific Downloader of Child Porn
Springfield — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the arrest of a Mason County man who allegedly has been one of the top two downloaders of child pornography in the state over the past 30 days. The arrest is the latest target of Madigan's Operation Glass House, a crackdown on the state's most active traffickers who download and trade child pornography online.
Fred A. Tribbett, Jr., 39, was arrested early today at his residence in Kilbourne. Investigators determined that in the last 30 days, Tribbett allegedly downloaded the second largest amount of child pornography in the state. Today's arrest comes after Madigan's office arrested a Jacksonville man last week who is suspected of downloading the largest amount of child pornography in Illinois over the last month.
"This is the second arrest in a week involving one of the most active traffickers of child pornography, and it shows just how adept we've become in identifying and apprehending the perpetrators of this heinous crime and how committed we are to continuing to take these criminals out of our communities," Madigan said.
Tribbett, a convicted sex offender, was charged with six counts of Aggravated Possession of Child Pornography. Because of his criminal background, the charges against Tribbett were enhanced to Class 1 felonies, with each count punishable by four to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He is being held in the Mason County Jail on a $500,000 bond with a court appearance set for Aug. 2, 2012.
Investigators with Madigan's office made the arrest working with Kilbourne Police, Mason County Sheriff's officers and the assistance of the Mason County State's Attorney's office.
"I consider this arrest a real accomplishment and getting this person off the street will make the community safer for everyone," said Police Chief Rick Gray.
"I commend the Attorney General's office for their investigation into this very serious matter," Sheriff Wayne Youell said. "This arrest should send a strong message that the technology exists that allows law enforcement to detect and apprehend those who use the Internet to possess and/or distribute child pornography."
Madigan's High Tech Crime Bureau will prosecute this case at the request of Mason County State's Attorney Kristen Miller. The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
This arrest is the 34th 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 pornographic images of children, according to investigators in Attorney General Madigan's office.
This ongoing initiative has benefited 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 448 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.