Criminal Justice News

Monday, June 11, 2012

Suburban Man Arrested for Transportation of Child Pornography

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today the arrest of a Sugar Grove, Illinois man for transportation of child pornography.

Dennis Houston, age 43, of the 3S500 block of Bliss Road in Sugar Grove, was arrested at his residence without incident last Thursday morning by special agents assigned to the Chicago FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force (IITF). Houston was charged in a criminal complaint filed June 6, 2012 in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of transportation of child pornography, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, on February 29, 2012, an undercover FBI agent assigned to work IITF cases and located in Maryland made online contact by way of a peer-to-peer file sharing network with another individual who was sharing two password-protected file folders on the network. The undercover agent began an online chat session with that person, during which the password to the two folders was provided to the undercover agent. Using that password, the agent downloaded approximately 20 image files and one video file from the shared folders. The files were reviewed by an agent assigned to the Chicago IITF, who determined that all of the downloaded files depicted what appeared to the agent to be child pornography.

Subsequent investigation determined the Internet protocol address used by the individual who provided the password and the shared files to the undercover agent was used by Houston.

During a court-authorized search of Houston’s residence on Thursday morning, a laptop computer was recovered, and a preliminary forensic review of the laptop was conducted. Agents conducting the review discovered approximately 1,300 child pornography images and files on the laptop computer, including at least four of the image and video files downloaded by the undercover agent on February 29, 2012.

Subsequent investigation by the IITF developed additional evidence linking Houston to the laptop computer and the folders made available on the peer-to-peer file sharing network from which the child pornographic images were obtained, resulting in the charges announced today.

In announcing this arrest, Mr. Grant acknowledged the assistance provided by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office during the course of this investigation.

Houston appeared before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason in Chicago following his arrest on Thursday, at which time he was formally charged. Houston was ordered held without bond pending his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12. Until then, Houston is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, Houston faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ incarceration to a maximum of 20 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.

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