Kane County takes aim at child exploitation with hire of veteran prosecutor
Prosecuting child exploitation cases is a horrible thing in which to be an expert.
But it's one reason veteran prosecutor Robert Dore is coming out of retirement to become the new chief of the criminal division for the Kane County state's attorney's office.
"Nobody wants to do these cases," admits Dore, who specialized in child exploitation and child pornography cases while working in the Kendall County state's attorney's office.
He's seen some videos so many times, in different cases, he knows instantly what it depicts just by the title. He's had to tell parents of victims that removing the images of their child from circulation is difficult. He can't unsee the despicable things, and he knows that in some cases, it's a parent behind those acts.
Dore, 61, retired as a prosecutor in 2019, but when new Kane County State's Attorney Jamie Mosser asked him to resume the fight against those crimes, he couldn't say no.
Mosser, elected in November, started pursuing Dore late last year. She said her office lacked the specialized expertise needed for child exploitation cases.
"We haven't been a resource to our police departments in the way we can," she said.
So, she and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain worked out a deal to transfer some money from his budget to hers to hire Dore.
It became a passion
Dore's work in these cases began during his first week in Kendall County. A 15-year-old girl had met someone online who persuaded her to send sexual photos of herself, then arranged to fly in from California to meet her.
After the man was arrested, the girl's mother asked Dore if he could remove the images of her daughter from the internet.
Telling her it wasn't likely was one of the saddest things he had ever done, Dore said.
From there, Dore attended prosecutor training offered by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, helped get local police officers trained in exploitation cases, and worked with the state's Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
In Kane County, he intends to train other prosecutors and already is meeting with local police departments to share his expertise.
"It started to become a passion. Nobody really wants to look at that stuff," Dore said. "Once I got rolling with it, I got better and better at handling it."
Dore noted that internet service providers and companies such as Facebook are on the lookout for child porn and report instances to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tip line.
That center also offers resources and counseling for people who suspect inappropriate images of themselves or their children are on the internet. For more information, visit missingkids.org
The Lake County sheriff's office is getting a new police dog, and it's giving kids a chance to name it.
The German shepherd is expected to arrive April 26 to join current sheriff's canines Boomer, Dax, Diesel and Duke, all of whom were named by local kids as well. Their tasks include locating missing people and fleeing suspects, tracking down firearms and other evidence, and sniffing out illegal drugs.
All students in kindergarten through eighth grade can participate, with permission of a teacher, parent or guardian. One entry per student is allowed and, in keeping with recent tradition, the submitted name must start with the letter "D." (May we suggest Daily Herald?)
The students whose name is chosen will be invited to participate in the new police dog's swearing-in ceremony.
To offer a name, go to https://bit.ly/3uRgv4o. Submissions are due by 9 a.m. April 28,
No break for big brother
A former Mundelein man who firebombed a home on the orders of a gang leader -- killing a 12-year-old boy and seriously injuring two other occupants -- doesn't deserve a break from his 84-year sentence because he had just turned 20 years old when the crime occurred, a state appeals court ruled this week.
Elver Hernandez, now 31, and his younger brother, Edwin, were convicted of first-degree murder for the May 9, 2009, attack on a family home in Mundelein. Authorities say the pair smashed windows at the home and heaved a 40-ounce beer bottle filled with gasoline on the porch, igniting a blaze that trapped the occupants on the second floor.
Jorge Juarez, 12, died in the fire, while his mother was paralyzed when she jumped from the second floor and struck an air-conditioning unit on the ground. Jorge's sister, Virginia Juarez, then 14, suffered severe burns to her back, arms and hands.
Prosecutors said the family had long been the targets of harassment by gang members and had even moved to the Mundelein home in hopes of escaping it.
The Hernandez brothers both turned down a chance for lighter sentences in return for testimony against the gang leader who authorities said ordered the attack. They instead pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 80+ years in prison each.
In his appeal, Elver Hernandez argued his young age and the influence gang leadership had over him at the time weren't fully considered when he was given what's essentially a life sentence. The appellate court disagreed, issuing a 23-page decision Tuesday that cites several examples when the sentencing judge noted his young age but issued the lengthy term anyhow.
Edwin Hernandez, who was 17 when the firebombing took place, had better luck when he made similar arguments on appeal. The appellate court ordered a new sentencing for him in 2013 and his term was reduced from 80 to 59 years in prison.
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