Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced the Attorney General’s office has charged a Madison County man with allegedly possessing child pornography. The case is part of Raoul’s ongoing work, in collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement officials throughout Illinois, to apprehend offenders who download child pornography online.
Raoul’s office charged Sergio Alberto Zuniga-Chapol, 24, of Granite City, Illinois, in Madison County Circuit Court with 15 counts of possession of child pornography, Class 2 felonies punishable by up to 28 years in prison. Zuniga-Chapol’s bond was set at $500,000.
“These horrific crimes can potentially leave life-long scars on innocent children and their families, which is why I am proud that as a result of work done by my office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, this predator can be held accountable,” Raoul said. “I am grateful for the collaboration of the task force with multiple local law enforcement agencies to keep our communities safe.”
Raoul’s investigators, with the assistance of the Granite City Police Department, Pontoon Beach Police Department, Bethalto Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a search of Zuniga-Chapol’s residence in the 2100 block of Bryan Avenue in Granite City and arrested him after discovering evidence of child pornography. Attorney General Raoul’s office will prosecute the case.
“The Granite City Police Department would like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for removing this individual from our streets,” said Granite City Assistant Chief of Police Major Nick Novacich. “We commend the professionalism and commitment to public safety their office has shown the citizens of Granite City.”
The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is part of Attorney General Raoul’s work to investigate and prosecute child pornographers in Illinois. Raoul’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased. In 2022, reports to the ICAC increased by 26% over 2021.
Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC task forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 175 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 30,400 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 485 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,958 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 1 million parents, teachers and students, in addition to more than 23,844 law enforcement professionals.
Raoul reminds the public that online child sexual exploitation can be reported at www.cybertipline.com, and child abuse can be reported at dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov. In addition, local child advocacy centers can be found at www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Shantikumar Kulkarni and Assistant Attorney General Jenifer Peck are handling the case for Raoul’s High Tech Crimes Bureau.