09/13/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/13/2021 20:50
URBANA, Ill. -Jeffrey M. West, 53, of the 1300 block of S. Third Street, in Mattoon, Illinois, was sentenced today to 45 years (540 months) in federal prison for child sexual exploitation offenses.
In April 2021, a federal jury convicted West of two counts of sexual exploitation of minors; two counts of commission of the offense by a registered sex offender; two counts of receiving child pornography; and one count of possession of child pornography.
The government's evidence at the April trial established that law enforcement became aware of West when a minor disclosed that West had sexually abused him in 2019. During the subsequent investigation, computer forensic analysis showed that West had collected more than 1,000 images and videos involving child pornography, including sexually explicit depictions of infants and prepubescent minors, which were found on multiple devices in his home and at his business, West Side Motors, in Mattoon.
In addition, the government's evidence showed that West used the video-chatting website Omegle to entice and coerce multiple unidentified minor males to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which he captured for his child pornography collection.
West has a prior conviction in Coles County for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 10-year-old minor female and a 4-year-old minor male.
West was arrested in May 2019 in Mattoon on state charges, but was released on bond. In September 2019, a federal grand jury charged West by indictment, and he was subsequently arrested on the federal charges. Later that month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long ordered that West be detained pending trial. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his federal arrest.
Following West's release from prison he will be on supervised release for fifteen years and will be required to register as a sex offender.
'Those who choose to sexually abuse children will be caught, prosecuted, and severely punished,' said Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey. 'I commend the diligent investigators of the Mattoon Police Department, working in conjunction with the FBI, for making our community safer.'
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mattoon Police Department, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division, and the Coles County State's Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elly Peirson and Keith Hollingshead-Cook represented the government at trial.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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.