Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced the Attorney General’s office has charged a St. Clair County man with alleged possession and dissemination of 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 and trade child pornography online.
Raoul’s office charged Elijah I. Ames, 18, of Swansea, Illinois, in St. Clair County Circuit Court with four counts of dissemination of child pornography, Class X felonies each punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and 11 counts of possession of child pornography, Class 2 felonies each punishable by up to seven years in prison. Ames’ bond was set at $350,000, and his next court date is scheduled for Sept. 8.
“Survivors of child abuse and exploitation are revictimized each and every time an individual trades or downloads one of these heinous images or videos,” Raoul said. “I will continue to partner with law enforcement to investigate and hold alleged perpetrators accountable, and I thank the Swansea Police Department for their assistance with this case.”
Raoul’s investigators, with the assistance of the Swansea Police Department, conducted a search of Ames’ residence in the 1400 block of Shade Tree Court in Swansea on Thursday, Aug. 31 and arrested him on Friday after discovering evidence of child pornography.
“Collaboration with our state law enforcement partners is crucial in these types of cases,” Swansea Police Chief Matthew T. Blomberg said. “Public safety and especially the safety of our youth is of the utmost importance to our agency. We are grateful for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and their investigators as well as our detective who conducted a thorough investigation into this case.”
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 32,500 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 1,960 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 23,850 law enforcement professionals.
Attorney General Raoul also reminded 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.
Assistant Attorney General Jenifer Peck is prosecuting the case for Raoul’s High Tech Crimes Bureau