By Maria Maxham
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, a Forest Park man was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for amassing a huge child pornography collection and ordered to pay $187,500 in restitution to the known child victims.
The case was investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, including members from the Cook County Sheriff's Office and Cook County State Attorney's Investigations Bureau. The Forest Park Police Department, specifically Jarlath Heveran of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, was involved in the investigation as well.
Jonathan Stephens, 50, was arrested on Jan. 25, 2018 and has been in custody since then. In 2018, he pled guilty to one count of transportation of child pornography. On Feb. 26, 2019, U. S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman sentenced Stephens to 12 years and seven months in prison, to be followed by nine years of supervised release.
Over a period of at least four years, Stephens collected approximately 194,000 sexually explicit images and videos, many of them of minors under the age of 12, on computers and external hard drives in his home. He allowed others to access and download the images and videos, which, according to the United States Attorney's office, showed children "forced to engage in sadistic and masochistic conduct."
In the government's sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice W. Appenteng, who represented the government with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Jodrey, talked about the nature of the crimes.
"The defendant's victims are numerous," said Appenteng. "Each child depicted in the images and videos went through a horrible experience and continues to relive that suffering and endure new suffering because of the defendant's actions."
Forest Park's Heveran said that, along with the FBI, he spent four to five months investigating Stephens.
"He was out of control," said Heveran about Stephens' accumulation of child pornography. "That's how I would describe him. He didn't know how to stop. He was at it day and night, living in filth." Shortly after Stephens' arrest, his house was condemned.
Community Guide 2019 - 2020
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