MADIGAN: WOODFORD COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY POSSESSION
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that a Woodford County man was charged with disseminating child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” a statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.
Shawn L. Schmidt, 49, of El Paso, Ill., was charged in Woodford County Circuit Court with seven counts of possessing child pornography, Class 2 felonies punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), and seven counts of disseminating child pornography, Class X felonies punishably by six to 30 years in the IDOC. Bond was set at $1 million.
“Children are revictimized each time these horrendous images are downloaded and shared,” Madigan said. “We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of offenders who commit these appalling crimes.”
Madigan’s investigators, with the assistance of the El Paso Police Department and the Woodford County State’s Attorney’s Office, conducted a search of a residence in the 100 block of South Commercial Street Tuesday and arrested Schmidt after evidence of alleged child pornography was discovered. Woodford County State’s Attorney Gregory Minger’s office will prosecute the case.
“Today our office has filed the charges against Shawn Schmidt for the possession and dissemination of child pornography. We would like to thank the El Paso Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General for their investigation and arrest of Shawn Schmidt, and we will continue to prosecute people like him to the fullest extent of the law,” Minger said.
“I appreciate the Attorney General’s support in helping us locate and apprehend individuals who prey upon children,” Chief Jeffrey Price said. “We are committed to removing these individuals from our community.”
The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This is the 83rd arrest since Madigan launched “Operation Glass House” in August 2010 to investigate the most active child pornography traders in Illinois. In 2010, the first year of the initiative, Madigan’s investigations revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of young children being raped. As a result, Madigan’s office has focused on apprehending offenders who are seen trading and watching extremely violent videos involving children, including infants and toddlers.
Madigan’s office, with a grant from the U.S. 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 more than 1,170 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 530,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 20,000 law enforcement professionals.