Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– A Roselle, Illinois man was arrested at O’Hare International Airport after being charged with child pornography violations, announced Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
GARY CHEETHAM, age 54,of 104 East Pratt Boulevard in the western suburb, was arrested last night, without incident, by special agents assigned to the Chicago FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force (IITF) after returning to Chicago on a commercial airline flight. CHEETHAM was charged in a criminal complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count each of manufacture and distribution of child pornography, both of which are felony offenses.
According to the complaint, beginning in December of last year, an FBI agent assigned to the IITF and working online in an undercover capacity entered a peer-to-peer file sharing network and connected to a user name eventually traced to CHEETHAM at the Roselle address. From this network connection, the agent was able to access and download files which contained child pornographic images.
In May of this year, a search of CHEETHAM’s residence was conducted by the IITF, pursuant to a federal search warrant. Several computers and other digital storage devices were seized. A preliminary forensic review of the digital devices recovered during the search discovered numerous images and videos of what appeared to be child pornography.
Subsequent investigation by the IITF developed additional evidence linking CHEETHAM to both the digital storage devices recovered during the search and the peer-to-peer file sharing network from which the child pornographic images were originally obtained. Further investigation also revealed evidence that CHEETHAM had also manufactured child pornography, resulting in the charges announced today.
CHEETHAM is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier in Chicago at 3:00 p.m. today, at which time he will be formally charged. If convicted of the charges filed against him, CHEETHAM faces a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen (15) years’ incarceration to a maximum of thirty (30) years’ incarceration.
Anyone having any information which might be relevant to this investigation is asked to call the Chicago FBI at (312) 421-6700.
The FBI’s Innocent Images initiative was established in 1996 and is part of a nationwide effort to combat the manufacture, distribution, and possession of child pornography. At present, there are 43 separate Innocent Images task forces in various FBI offices around the country, which are investigating similar cases.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.