Social media appears to be a fertile field for people who want to engage in sex crimes involving minors. Recently, a suspicious post on craigslist led police to a youth martial arts instructor who lives in Belleville. The man was arrested on suspicion of having committed a number of child pornography crimes.
The exact nature of the craigslist post was not disclosed by police, but it allegedly led an investigator to obtain an image of child pornography from the suspect. Police then obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s home. In the course of searching his home, police allegedly discovered multiple images and videos involving child pornography. Investigators were unable to determine if the defendant produced the images himself or whether he had any inappropriate contact with children.
The defendant was charged with one count of disseminating child pornography and seven counts of possession of child pornography. Two of the possession counts involved videos, with the remaining five counts involving photographs. The defendant worked at a martial arts academy in O’Fallon, Illinois, and at a childcare facility in Shiloh. Police are continuing their investigation, partly to verify whether or not any other children were involved in the alleged criminal activity.
The defendant in this case is in an especially vulnerable situation because he works with children as part of his employment. He is entitled to be presumed innocent until he has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but he may nevertheless wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can provide an evaluation of the evidence and the law that apply to the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Youth martial arts instructor in Belleville charged with child pornography,” Nassim Benchaabane, Feb. 21, 2018