Peoria, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A federal grand jury Tuesday returned an indictment charging Corbett Eugene Hayes, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, on sexual exploitation charges of a minor.
The indictment charges Hayes with having used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor from about March 15, 2021, through the date of his arrest on August 11, 2021, to produce sexually explicit images.
According to court documents, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a report from the father of a Central Illinois teen that an unknown male was engaging in sexually graphic messages with his daughter through social media platforms and text messages. The individual initially posed as a 16-year-old boy when he contacted the teen, but he later assumed the role of the fictitious 16-year-old’s uncle in their communications. Further investigation led the FBI to conclude that Hayes controlled the social media accounts for both identities.
Hayes also was identified in a separate investigation by the FBI Minneapolis field office for trading images of child pornography on a separate platform.
Hayes is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry J. Bemporad in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas on August 18, 2021, for a detention hearing and identity hearing to determine his transfer to the Central District of Illinois. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois will schedule a date for his appearance in Urbana once he is transported by the U.S. Marshals from Texas.
Hayes was previously arrested and charged by criminal complaint on August 12, 2021, near his home in San Antonio. Hayes has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson is representing the government in the prosecution. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield, San Antonio, and Minneapolis field offices conducted the investigation.
If convicted, the offense of sexual exploitation of a minor carries a penalty of no less than 15 years to up to 30 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), to marshal federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This is a release from the United States Department of Justice.