Chicago — (ENEWSPF)—November 20, 2014. Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges yesterday against two men on multiple counts of possessing, reproducing and disseminating child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” her statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.
Early Wednesday, Madigan’s investigators and the Vandalia Police Department arrested Ryan J. Koontz, 34, after executing a search warrant at his Vandalia home in the 500 block of South Cypress Street. Koontz was charged in Fayette County with two counts of distribution of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and eight counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. Bond was set Wednesday at $300,000.
On Tuesday, Christopher L. Cook, 26, was arrested after investigators with Madigan’s office and the Vandalia Police Department executed a search warrant at his Centralia home in the 600 block of North Walnut Street. Cook was charged in Marion County with five counts of distribution of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and nine counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. Bond was set Wednesday at $150,000.
“Online child pornography is a horrific crime that victimizes children each time an image is downloaded or traded,” Madigan said. “My office will continue to be relentless in tracking down and apprehending offenders who trade these horrific videos.”
The arrests bring to a total of 73 for Operation Glass House, which Madigan launched in 2010 to investigate and arrest offenders trading child pornography online. The operation’s investigations are conducted by Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and have revealed a disturbing community of criminals who are trading and viewing extremely violent videos of children as young as infants being raped and abused.
Today’s operation was assisted by the Vandalia Police Department, and the Fayette County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.
“We’re happy to be a part of the Attorney General’s operation to get offenders like this off the streets,” said Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison. “We thank the Attorney General’s Office for their assistance and hope to partner together on future investigations.”
“I’m grateful for the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office and look forward to working with the office on future investigations,” said Vandalia Police Chief Jeff Ray.
Tuesday’s operation was assisted by the Centralia Police Department, and the Marion County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.
“We were pleased to work with the Attorney General’s High Tech Crimes Bureau. They completed a thorough investigation, and we will prosecute this offender to the full extent of the law,” said Marion County State’s Attorney Matthew Wilzbach.
“The Centralia Police Department is pleased that we could assist the Attorney General’s Office in the apprehension of a person involved with the distribution of child pornography,” said Centralia Police Chief Doug Krutsinger. “The Attorney General’s High Tech Crimes Bureau utilized Centralia’s police facility to investigate Christopher L. Cook and later arrest Cook on fourteen counts of child porn possession. The Centralia Police Department appreciates the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office to keep the Centralia area free from child pornography.”
In addition to Operation Glass House, Madigan leads the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Task Force investigates child exploitation crimes and trains local and county level law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois to do the same. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 855 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 389,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 18,300 law enforcement professionals.
The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.