MADIGAN: DUPAGE COUNTY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ARRESTS PUSH TOTAL TO 50 SINCE STATEWIDE CRACKDOWN BEGAN IN 2010
Chicago — Two arrests on child pornography charges following separate raids this week in DuPage County bring to 50 the total arrests since 2010 in Operation Glass House, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.
“Our work, in partnership with local law enforcement, has resulted in identifying and arresting 50 offenders who have possessed and traded some of the vilest images imaginable,” Madigan said. “Online child pornography is a real and significant threat to children who are victimized each time an image is downloaded or traded.”
Steven Friesen, 45, of Villa Park, has been charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He is being held in the DuPage County Jail on $250,000 bond.
Madigan’s investigators, with the assistance of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, Villa Park Police and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, conducted a search of Friesen’s Michigan Ave. (Villa Park) townhouse Wednesday and found evidence of alleged child pornography.
“Apprehending sex offenders is a high priority for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office and we are willing to assist any agency in accomplishing it,” DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba said.
Brian Gondek, 54, of Elmhurst, has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography and also being held by DuPage County authorities on $200,000 bond. Gondek was arrested after Elmhurst Police and Madigan’s office’s investigators executed a search warrant at his apartment on Arlington Ave. in Elmhurst yesterday and found evidence of alleged child pornography.
“Elmhurst Police are committed to protecting all our residents, particularly our children, in the community and when they go online,” said Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin’s office will prosecute both cases.
“Every year, child pornography claims millions of victims one image at a time,” Berlin said. “I would like to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s ICAC Task Force for their continued efforts in protecting our children from those who would do them harm.”
The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
In 2010, the first year of Operation Glass House, Madigan’s investigations revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of young children being raped. As a result, Operation Glass House has focused on apprehending offenders who are seen trading and watching extremely violent videos involving children, including infants and toddlers.
Madigan’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in 622 arrests of sexual predators. The Task Force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 302,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 16,000 law enforcement professionals. Currently, 186 agencies are affiliated with the Illinois ICAC.