As we often discuss in this blog, crimes involving sexual abuse of a child carry extremely serious penalties. In addition to a prison sentence, most people convicted of such a sex offense are required to register as a sex offender, which can affect nearly every aspect of a person's life. A conviction on federal charges can be especially damaging because the sentences for such crimes tend to be more severe.
A sheriff's deputy from a neighboring state could get at least 30 years in prison if he's convicted of the federal charges against him. He's accused of transporting a minor across state lines and into Wisconsin to have sex and produce underage pornography.
The 36-year-old deputy, who used to work as an Internet sex crimes investigator for the McHenry County, Illinois, Sheriff's Office, was first charged in January with 10 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault against a juvenile. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were filed by the county State's Attorney's Office, but was released on bond.
The federal charges were filed this month, though the investigation came long before the state charge. Prosecutors say an informant named the deputy during an online underage pornography investigation in August 2010. The informant, who investigators said traded underage pornography with the man, provided images of a man sexually assaulting a minor in a Wisconsin hotel. When authorities found and interviewed the victim in that case, the boy said the deputy had sexually abused him several times and created underage pornography with him that later made its way to the Internet.
The state charges carry penalties of six years for each of the 10 counts. If convicted on the federal charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, the deputy would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison; the maximum sentence is life in prison. A conviction on the charge of sexual exploitation of a child carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years.
Having worked in the sex crimes division of the sheriff's office, the deputy surely recognizes the gravity of the charges against him. He probably also knows that he'll need a defense attorney with experience in both the state and federal courts to ensure that he'll reach the best possible outcome in his case.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Deputy again charged with sexually assaulting minor," Robert McCoppin, Aug. 15, 2012
· Our firm handles a wide variety of criminal cases at both the state and federal level. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Wisconsin criminal defense page.