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January 18, 2013

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN: FULTON COUNTY MAN ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

Springfield — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that Operation Glass House, her crackdown on the state’s most active child pornography traffickers, led to the arrest of a Fulton County man.

Christopher J. McConnell, 23, was arrested yesterday after the execution of a search warrant at his East Chestnut Street residence in Canton revealed computer files depicting images and video of alleged child pornography.

“Each time a pornographic image or video of a child is disseminated online it adds to the horrible crime that is inflicted on the child,” Attorney General Madigan said. “Our office will continue to work with local law enforcement statewide to track online child pornographers, arrest them and see that they are incarcerated for their heinous crimes.”

McConnell was charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He is being held in the Fulton County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

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

“Our county and my office appreciate Attorney General Madigan’s assistance in making her investigators available to us in building this case and the professionalism with which all concerned carried out their duties,” said State’s Attorney John Clark.

“With the unfortunate increase in computer-related crimes, the resources of the Attorney General’s office provide us help to put away criminals who otherwise may go undetected,” Canton Police Chief W. Daniel Taylor said. “Their computer crimes division worked this case professionally and effectively thereby bringing closure on a child pornography case within our city. The Canton Police Department appreciates the local efforts and assistance the Attorney General’s office continues to provide to our community.”

The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. This is the 36th arrest in 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. More recently, 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. The ongoing initiative has benefited from a new law that Madigan helped write and pass in the General Assembly which helps investigators to 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 534 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 263,000 parents, teachers and students and 14,694 law enforcement professionals. Currently, 171 agencies are affiliated with the Illinois ICAC.

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