Zion man sentenced to 12 years for having child porn
A Zion man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of child pornography possession, state officials announced Thursday.
Darin Richardson, 52, initially faced 15 counts of possessing child pornography, but 10 were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, officials said.
The investigation into Richardson was initiated by the Racine County sheriff's office in Wisconsin, which later notified Illinois authorities when they discovered his residency, according to the Illinois attorney general's office.
He was charged in July 2020 after authorities alleged they found evidence of child pornography during a search of his home by a coalition of investigators from the Lake County sheriff's and state's attorney's offices, as well as U.S. Homeland Security and the Illinois attorney general's office.
Prosecutors said Richardson had child pornography involving a victim younger than 13.
"This sentencing highlights the importance of collaborative work between the attorney general's office, local law enforcement agencies and state's attorneys throughout Illinois to ensure justice for victims of exploitation and sexual assault," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement Thursday.
Raoul's office runs the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Since 2019, the task force has received more than 19,500 online tips and been involved in more than 200 arrests.
The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 953,500 parents, teachers and students and more than 23,100 law enforcement professionals since 2006.