Jury Convicts Tuscola, IL Man for Distribution, Posession of Child Pornography

(From the US Department of Justice)

Urbana, Ill. –A jury deliberated for approximately 1 hour and 30 minuteslate Wednesday afternoon before returning guilty verdicts against Parrish Kappes, 47 of, Tuscola, Ill., for distribution and possession of child pornography. Sentencing for Kappes is scheduled on January 31, 2014.

Kappes was indicted by a grand jury in November 2012 following hisarrest on Oct. 16, 2012 on a federal criminal complaint. Kappes has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest.

During Kappes’ trial, which began on September 30, 2012, the government presented evidence that Kappes distributed sexually explicit videos of minors on three separate occasions in August and September of 2012. Evidence was also presented that Kappes possessed nearly 200 movie files and 2000 images depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including violent depictions of rape and torture of children under ten years old.Jurors were also presented with evidence that Kappes’ took pictures of young girls dressed in bathing suits in his Tuscola neighborhood from his back yard.

Each count of distribution of child pornography carries is a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison. For possession of child pornography, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison. Both offenses include terms of up to life supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Kappes was apprehended, along with seven other individuals, as part of a multi-county joint investigative effort, known as “Operation Blue Monday.”On behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, recognized the collaborative work of investigators that led to the indictment of eight defendants during this five month operation for federal child pornography offenses in east central Illinois. Homeland Security Investigations partnered with the Urbana and Champaign Police Departments and others in this effort.

Trained through the Illinois Attorney General’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, law enforcement officers use investigative software and techniques to identify Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that offer to trade child pornography through the Internet. Upon identification of the IP address, agents continue their investigation to determine the subscriber information and gather evidence used to establish probable cause and make arrests.

U.S. Attorney Lewis commended the agencies and their designated officers for their commitment to share the burden of investigation and prosecution. “In Operation Blue Monday, law enforcement came together to work on a problem that is unfortunately too common in their jurisdictions: trading child pornography on the Internet. Working together, the officers gathered more evidence, made more arrests and gave us stronger cases, truly helping to protect young people in their communities.”

In addition to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Urbana and Champaign Police Departments, additional assistance has been provided by members of the East Central Illinois Cyber Crimes Working group, including members of the Mattoon Police Department; the University of Illinois Police Department, the Decatur Police Department; the Vermilion County Sheriff’s Office; Illinois State Police; and the Illinois Secretary of State.

All eight defendants, including Kappes, have been convicted as follows:

Remington L. Goodenough, 21, of Edina, Minn., a student at the University of Illinois, local address White Street, Champaign, Ill., arrested and charged by criminal complaint on Nov. 26, 2012; indicted and charged in December 2012 by the grand jury with one count each of trafficking, receiving and possession of child pornography. Goodenough was released to the custody of his parents as third party custodians following his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal on Nov. 28. Goodenough was re-arrested after violating the conditions of his bond on February 26, 2013, and remains in the custody of the United States Marshals Service. Goodenough pled guilty on August 22, 2013 to all counts in the indictment. Sentencing for Goodenough is scheduled for January 10, 2014.

Oscar Hernando Moreno Torres, 39, of the 2000 block of South Orchard Lane, Urbana, Ill., a student of the University of Illinois, Columbian National with student visa, arrested and charged by complaint on Nov. 27; indicted and charged with one count of possession of child pornography in December 2012. Torres pled guilty to possession of child pornography on May 16, 2012. Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced him to a 42-month term of imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release on September 27, 2013.

Erick Barthelemy, 27, of the 400 block of W. Vine St., Champaign, arrested and charged by complaint on Sept. 10; indicted on Oct. 4 charged with two counts of distribution and one count possession of child pornography. On March 27, 2013, Barthelemy pled guilty to all three counts in the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced Barthelemy to 121-month term of imprisonment for the distribution of child pornography charges and 120-month term of imprisonment for the possession of child pornography charge, each to run concurrently on June 27, 2013. Barthelemy’s sentence includes a lifetime term of supervised release.

Danny L. Smith, of the 600 block of E. 13th St., Georgetown, Ill; arrested and charged by complaint on Sept. 11; indicted on Oct. 4 charged with three counts of distribution and one count possession of child pornography. Smith pled guilty to all four counts in the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal on March 14, 2013. Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced Smith to 133-month term of imprisonment on July 2, 2013, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.

Mu-Tsun Tsai, 27, of the 500 block of S. First Street, Champaign, a graduate student of the University of Illinois, Taiwanese National with student visa, arrested and charged by complaint on Jul. 24; indicted in August charged with one count of distribution, two counts of receipt and one count possession of child pornography. Tsai pled guilty to one count of distribution, one count of receipt and one count of possession of child pornography on September 12, 2013 before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Sentencing is set for January 13, 2014.

Dustin R. Underwood, 19, of the 800 block of E. Webster St., Clinton, Ill. arrested and charged by complaint on Aug. 28; indicted in September charged with three counts of distribution and one count possession of child pornography. Underwood pled guilty to two counts of distribution and one count of possession of child pornography on April 11, 2013. On August 27, 2013, Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced Underwood to 60-month term of imprisonment, followed by a 10-year term of supervised release with special conditions.

Zachary M. Vincent, 21, of the 700 block of N. Carico Street, Tuscola, Ill., arrested and charged by complaint on Oct. 16; indicted Nov. 7, charged with three counts of distribution and one count possession of child pornography. On August 2, 2013, Vincent pled guilty to all four counts in the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Sentencing is set for December 6, 2013.

Each of the defendants, with the exception of Goodenough, has remained detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since their arrests.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.