Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced today the Attorney General’s office obtained guilty pleas in two unrelated child pornography cases in Vermilion County.
In a case Raoul’s office prosecuted in Vermilion County Circuit Court, Daton J. Books, 22 of Danville, Illinois pleaded guilty to a Class X felony of dissemination of child pornography. He was sentenced to nine years in prison with three years to life of mandatory supervised release to follow. Brooks was arrested by the Danville Police Department in August 2021 in the 900 block of Harmon Street in Danville.
Raoul’s office also prosecuted Mark Kerkering II, 48 of Henning, Illinois, who pleaded guilty to a Class X felony of dissemination of child pornography. He was sentenced to eight years in prison with three years to life of mandatory supervised release to follow. In November 2021, Raoul’s investigators, with the assistance of the Vermilion County Sheriff’s Department and the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Police Department, conducted a search of a residence in the 200 block of North Loren Street in Henning and arrested Kerkering after discovering evidence of child pornography.
“I am proud of the work done by my office’s High Tech Crime Bureau to ensure two child predators were held accountable for their exploitation of innocent children,” Raoul said. “No child deserves the potential life-long scars these heinous crimes can leave, which is why the bureau and my office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force work tirelessly to protect children from these online predators.”
Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy’s office assisted Raoul’s office in prosecuting both cases.
“Many cases that involve Dissemination of Child Pornography can go undetected, however when the ICAC task force reached out to my office for assistance we stood ready to provide any support in order to get these child predators off the street,” said Lacy. “We will continue to work in cooperation with Attorney General Kwame Raoul and other agencies to ensure the safety of our community.”
While unrelated, both of these cases are 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 2021, reports to the ICAC increased by 42% over 2020.
Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC Task Forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 285 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 24,100 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 408 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,840 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 962,779 parents, teachers and students, in addition to more than 23,250 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.
Assistant Attorney General Shantikumar Kulkarni prosecuted the case for Raoul’s High Tech Crimes Bureau. Computer Evidence Recovery Technician James Stapleton investigated the case for Raoul’s Investigations Division.