A Navy petty officer 3rd class was charged with several felony counts involving child pornography after authorities using a search warrant found images on electronic devices in his home near the Great Lakes Naval Station.
Billy J. Collins, 33, of the 3600 block of Washington Avenue, remained in the Lake County jail Tuesday on $250,000 bond. That area is in the Forrestal Village family housing units near the base, according to Naval public affairs. Collins is assigned to the Navy Band Great Lakes.
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The Lake County Sheriff's Office said its cybercrimes unit, with assistance from similar investigators in the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, conducted a child pornography investigation beginning May 24 that resulted in the search warrant executed at 6:15 a.m. Monday. The Navy Criminal Investigative Service assisted.
Electronic devices capable of storing electronic media were seized from Collins' residence, and an examination of the devices revealed an "extensive amount" of images identified as child pornography, according to Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Sara Balmes.
In a news release, Balmes said Collins had been using a mobile cellphone application to pose as a 14-year-old girl. While acting as the girl, Collins would communicate with those he believed were female children, according to the release. Images recovered at Collins' home included some from those individuals, police said.
Collins told authorities the purpose was to acquire nude images of the children he believed he was communicating with, the release stated.
He was charged with: four counts of disseminating child pornography and two counts of soliciting child pornography, both Class 1 felonies; seven counts of possession of child pornography, victim images under the age of 13, Class 2 felonies; and two counts of possession of child pornography, victims images under the age of 18, Class 3 felonies.
Potential penalties for Class 1 felonies range from 4 to 15 years in prison; 3 to 7 years for Class 2 felonies; and, 2 to 5 years for Class 3 felonies.
Collins is scheduled to appear in court June 12.