State sting nets two on child porn charges

Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald

Staff Report

CHICAGO ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges today against two men on multiple counts of possessing, reproducing and disseminating child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” her statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

As reported previously, Madigan’s investigators and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday, Oct. 23, arrested Christopher Fitzgerald, 47, of Rockford, after executing a search warrant at his home. Fitzgerald was charged with eight counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison, and two counts of reproduction of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

Wednesday, Jesse Hansen, 33, of Elgin, was arrested after investigators with Madigan’s office and the Elgin Police Department executed a search warrant at his home. Hansen was charged in Kane County with two counts of dissemination of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and two counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison.

Hansen
Hansen

Possessing child pornography is not an innocent act but the perpetuation of a vicious crime,” Madigan said. “When these files are traded online, it only serves to revictimize the young victims. We will continue to be relentless in tracking down and apprehending these offenders.”

The arrests bring to a total of 71 for Operation Glass House, which Madigan launched in 2010 to investigate and arrest offenders trading child pornography online. The operation’s investigations are conducted by Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and have revealed a disturbing community of criminals who are trading and viewing extremely violent videos of children as young as infants being raped and abused.

The operation was assisted by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.

The act of possessing and viewing child pornography is not a victimless crime. The Office of the State’s Attorney takes these types of crimes seriously,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato. “It is our duty as a prosecutor to use all means available to us to protect victims, both current and future.”

The operation was also assisted by the Elgin Police Department, and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute Hansen’s case.

Thanks to the Attorney General’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and the Elgin Police Department for their investigative work, and for working with us to bring these charges. These partnerships are invaluable in protecting the public from these filth peddlers,” said Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon.

In addition to Operation Glass House, Madigan leads the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Task Force investigates child exploitation crimes and trains local and county level law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois to do the same. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 826 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 372,000 parents, teachers and students and nearly 18,000 law enforcement professionals.

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