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June 24, 2016

MADIGAN: FAYETTE COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY POSSESSION

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that a Fayette County man was charged with possessing and disseminating child pornography as part of "Operation Glass House," a statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

Manuel D. Prater, 61, of Vandalia, was charged in Fayette County Circuit Court with 10 counts of possession of child pornography, Class 2 felonies punishable by up to three to seven years in Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), and seven counts of dissemination of child pornography, Class X felonies punishable by up to six to 30 years in prison. Bond for Prater was set Friday at $1 million.

"Disseminating these horrific images revictimizes children and increases demand," Madigan said. "We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of offenders who perpetuate these appalling crimes."

Madigan's investigators, with the assistance of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department and the Fayette County State's Attorney's Office, conducted a search of a residence in the 3000 block of West Saint Louis Avenue in Vandalia Thursday and arrested Prater after evidence of alleged child pornography was discovered. Fayette County State's Attorney Joshua Morrison's office will prosecute the case.

"We are committed to prosecuting the individuals who perpetrate these crimes to the fullest extent of the law," Morrison said. "Fayette County's partnership with the Attorney General's Office is helping us put these offenders behind bars where they belong."

"As a department of limited resources, it is wonderful to have the help of the Attorney General's Office to maintain the safety of our children and keep the community safe in the future," said Sheriff Chris Smith.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This is the 81st arrest since Madigan launched "Operation Glass House" in August 2010 to investigate the most active child pornography traders in Illinois. In 2010, the first year of the initiative, Madigan's investigations revealed a disturbing trend of offenders trading extremely violent videos of young children being raped. As a result, Madigan's office 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 1,171 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 539,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 22,000 law enforcement professionals.

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