Rockford, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the arrest of a Winnebago County man in her continued crackdown targeting the most active participants in downloading and trading child pornography on the Internet.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joseph Bruscato, Sheriff Richard Meyers and Loves Park Police Chief James Puckett joined Attorney General Madigan at an afternoon press conference Wednesday to announce the arrest of David E. Funk, 55, of Loves Park, who was targeted as one of the more prolific traders of Internet child pornography in the state. According to a press release from the Attorney General’s office, the initial investigation revealed that Funk allegedly possessed more than 1,400 images and hundreds of videos of infants and young children.
“The ages of the victims in this suspect’s collection of child pornography make today’s arrest one of the most disturbing,” said Attorney General Madigan. “These are truly innocent victims, some just babies. Their photos and video images depict serious crime scenes. Sadly, once their images are on the Internet, they cannot be easily erased. These children are revictimized over and over by criminals who choose to access and trade in these vile and illegal images.”
Funk is charged with six counts of aggravated child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Funk’s bond was set Wednesday at $1 million.
“This is the 11th arrest in our aggressive effort to stop child pornographers, and I guarantee more arrests will follow,” said Madigan, who first announced the crackdown in late August. “Working closely with local law enforcement across the state, we will continue to methodically identify, arrest and convict those who choose to prey on our children.”
Madigan said cooperation among the Attorney General’s office, State’s Attorney’s offices and local law enforcement is essential to the success of the ongoing effort to crack down on child pornographers in Illinois.
“Child pornography is simply an unacceptable crime in any community, and the people of this community expect the best effort to be made to stop these crimes,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joseph Bruscato. “All of us in Winnebago County law enforcement appreciate that Attorney General Lisa Madigan has come here today to demonstrate that with this cooperative law enforcement effort, we will achieve our goal.”
Bruscato’s sentiments were echoed by local law enforcement.
“Child pornography is a hideous crime and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s office is committed to work with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which has taken the lead to protect our children,” said Sheriff Richard Meyers.
“This joint law enforcement effort shows that the protection of children is a top priority,” said Loves Park Police Chief James Puckett. “This arrest is vitally important because an individual in possession of child pornography can lead to further offenses against children if not stopped.”
In late August, Attorney General Madigan announced a new initiative to find and arrest the worst child pornographers in Illinois using the unique identifier that each computer is assigned when it accesses the Internet, known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. Over the last month, more than 8,000 Illinois IP addresses were seen trading child pornography images and videos.
“Internet predators need to know that the technology they use to victimize our children is the same technology that law enforcement around this state will use to identify, arrest and imprison them,” Madigan said.
Studies have shown that users of child pornography are more likely to also be sexual abusers of children, the release said. A total of 24,613 sex offenders are listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, of which more than 81 percent committed a crime against a child. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry is located at www.isp.state.il.us.
Along with this initiative to arrest child pornographers, Madigan also works with local and national law enforcement organizations to address Internet exploitation of children and women. Madigan’s office, with a grant from the Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement. Since 2006, Madigan’s office has been involved in more than 300 arrests of sexual predators and provided Internet safety training and education to more than 128,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 10,000 law enforcement professionals.
The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.