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Atwood man sentenced to 26 years in prison for child sex offenses

Atwood man sentenced to 26 years in prison for child sex offenses

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ATWOOD — Dennis H. West of Atwood was sentenced to 26 years in prison Tuesday for sex crimes involving junior high school students.

West, 44, had earlier pleaded guilty to five counts of the sexual exploitation of minors in 2017 and 2018. Court documents said he had begun “grooming” minors and paid the children to engage in sex acts and then send him pictures of sexually explicit conduct.

West was sentenced in Urbana by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm who also ordered him to be placed on supervised release for 15 years when he gets out of prison. West had been held in custody since his arrest in March 2019.

Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for John C. Milhiser, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, said the case against West had been brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. This is a Department of Justice effort to combat what Paul described as “the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.”

Investigating agencies involved included the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and the police departments of Atwood, Tuscola, Arthur and Decatur. They all worked in coordination with the Piatt and Douglas county state attorney’s offices.


Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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