Eight convicted in federal child porn investigation

Eight convicted in federal child porn investigation

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DECATUR — Eight men have been convicted of child pornography charges in federal court, including two Tuscola residents and a Clinton resident, after they were arrested as part of an investigation conducted by a task force of federal and local law enforcement agencies.

The defendants who have already been sentenced have received prison terms ranging from 3 1/2 years to more than 11 years. Federal prison sentences are served at a minimum of 85 percent.

On Wednesday, Parrish Kappes, 47, of Tuscola was convicted by a jury of distribution and possession of child pornography, after prosecutors presented evidence that he distributed explicit videos of minors on three occasions in 2012.

“Kappes possessed nearly 200 movie files and 2,000 images depicting children in sexually explicit conduct, including violent depictions of rape and torture of children under 10 years old,” said a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central Illinois District.

Kappes, who has been in the custody of U.S. Marshals since his arrest Oct. 16, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31 in U.S. District Court, Urbana. Each count of distribution of child pornography carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison; child pornography possession counts are punishable by up to 10 years.

A five-month, multicounty effort called “Operation Blue Monday” resulted in the arrest of Kappes and the other defendants. Participants included the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis’ office, Homeland Security Investigations and the Urbana and Champaign police departments.

Zachary M. Vincent, 21, of Tuscola pleaded guilty to three counts of distribution and one count of possession of child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Dustin R. Underwood, 19, of Clinton was sentenced to five years in prison Aug. 27, after pleading guilty to three counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possession.

In addition, three University of Illinois students, a Champaign man and a Georgetown man have been convicted as part of the investigation. Three have been sentenced to prison and two are awaiting their sentencing.

hfreeman@herald-review.com|(217) 421-6985

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