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United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois

10/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/22/2021 09:42

Canton Man Pleads Guilty to Solicitation of an Obscene Visual Depiction of a Minor

PEORIA, Ill. - A Canton, Illinois, man, Joseph M. Graham, 29, of the 500 block of Baxter Court, pleaded guilty on October 21, 2021, to the charge of soliciting an obscene visual depiction of a minor. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 24, 2022, at the federal courthouse in Peoria, Illinois.

In court today, before U.S. District Judge James Shadid, Graham admitted that he used an online application to request sexually explicit images of an individual whom he believed to be 8 years old.

During the hearing, the government stated that in December 2019 Graham initiated messages arranging to meet with individuals he believed to be the child and his father and, on January 8, 2020, traveled to a coffee shop on North Prospect Road, in Peoria, where he was taken into custody by federal agents.

Graham remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.

For the offense of solicitation of an obscene visual depiction of a minor, the statutory penalty is not less than five years and up to 20 years in prison; a fine of up to $250,000; and a term of supervised release of not less than five years and up to life.

The charges were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Hanna is representing the government in the prosecution.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), to marshal federal, state, and local resources to 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.