Man charged with child pornography possession, dissemination

A man accused of possessing more than 800,000 child pornography and sexual abuse images and videos on computers at his Batavia workplace has been released pretrial.

James R. Clark, 51, appeared before Kane County Judge Salvatore LoPiccolo in First-Appearance Court Friday afternoon.

Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa Scott argued there were no conditions that would guarantee Clark would not access the internet while awaiting trial. She also argued Clark posed a “real and present threat” to the community, because the desire to obtain child pornography creates a market for it, and therefore encourages people to abuse children to make the materials.

Scott said some of the children, ranging from infants to 15, were blindfolded. Some victims were crying, she said.

“He has thousands of images where he wants to see children be harmed in this most disgusting, harmful, deplorable way,” she said.

LoPiccolo agreed with her on that point, saying the demand for child pornography puts any child in the community at risk of being victimized. But since Clark legally is presumed innocent and doesn’t have a criminal history, except for a 2002 DUI, there was insufficient evidence less-restrictive measures wouldn’t protect the community, according to LoPiccolo.

Clark’s attorney, Robert Kerr, argued since Clark learned of the investigation when a search warrant was served Feb. 1, he has cooperated with investigators, and turned himself in promptly when told charges were filed. That shows he is highly likely to obey LoPiccolo’s orders, Kerr argued. Kerr also said before hiring him, Clark hired a psychologist to give him a psychosexual disorder evaluation.

“The volume (of files) does not make him more dangerous than a similarly situated defendant who has fewer images,” Kerr said.

Clark faces 30 counts of reproducing or disseminating child pornography. Because the charges allege the items depicted penetration, they are considered violent crimes and are Class X felonies, punishable by six to 30 years in prison. And because the counts allege the crimes happened on different dates, he could face consecutive prison terms if convicted of multiple counts, according to Scott.

Clark also faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by probation to seven years in prison.

State’s attorney’s investigators allege Clark used the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network to receive and send the files. The materials were found on his desktop work computer and a laptop computer, several thumb drives and five hard drives, all in his office at a Batavia automotive industry supplies company.

Some of the images were stored on the hard drives as far back as 2002, Scott said.

Clark lives in the 200 block of Foster Drive in Oswego.

LoPiccolo ordered Clark to not use the internet, nor possess any device capable of accessing the internet, whether by phone, computers, video gaming devices or anything else. He is to have no contact with children under age 18, including his own teenage minor child, unless an adult is supervising.

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