Highland Resident Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 17, 2014|
A Highland, Illinois resident pled guilty on January 17, 2014, to a two-count indictment, charging him in count one with transportation of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and in count two with possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Daniel C. Shaw, a/k/a “Josh Shackfer,” 38, faces a term of imprisonment of not less than five but not more than 20 years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life on count one; and a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life on count two. In addition, upon his release from prison, Shaw must register as a sex offender as a condition of his supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 2014, in East St. Louis, Illinois.
The investigation began on September 23, 2012, when the mother of a 15-year-old minor contacted the Citrus County, Florida Sheriff’s Office and reported that a man sent her daughter pictures of a penis and that she found sexually explicit texts between the man and her daughter. When interviewed, the daughter verified that she was sent a picture of a penis but said that she deleted it. She also admitted that her conversations with the man, whom she knew as “Josh Shackfer,” were sexual and that she told him her age. She said that Shackfer told her that he would be 19 in October and that he would be moving to Florida soon. After numerous texts from the mother to the man telling him to stop communicating with her daughter were ignored, the mother reported the incident to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
The subsequent Florida investigation revealed that, from on or about July 30, 2010 until January 12, 2011, Defendant Daniel C. Shaw, posing as a 16-year-old boy named Josh Shackfer, made contact with several minor females in Florida using MySpace. Shaw was 35 years old at the time and lived in Highland, Illinois. The investigation also revealed that Shaw, disguised as Josh Shackfer, engaged in sexually explicit conversations with several minor females, either through text messaging, instant messaging, or telephone calls, knowing that these girls were minors. He also asked some of these minor females to send him photographs of them naked and/or of their naked genitalia. Several females did so, including M.P., who sent close-up photographs of her naked genitalia. The pictures of M.P., which were clearly visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually conduct, were found on Shaw’s MySpace e-mail account. After being shown the pictures by a Highland, Illinois Police officer, Shaw identified the pictures of M.P. by initialing each of them and indicated that he knew M.P. was either 16 or 17 (count two).
In a voluntary statement to a Highland, Illinois Police detective, Shaw admitted communicating with the minor females in Florida using a fake MySpace page under the name of Josh Shackfer, in which he identified himself as an 18-year-old. He said that he used images he found on the Internet on this MySpace page. He also admitted engaging in sexually explicit conversations with these underage girls and trading pictures with these minors. Shaw saved the pictures sent to him from the minor females, including the sexually explicit pictures, on a Yahoo e-mail account, stating that he had approximately 20 pictures on his account. Shaw said that he had been engaged in this activity for approximately six months and that he knew the girls he communicated with in Florida were between 14 and 17 years of age. The pictures that were downloaded also demonstrated that Shaw had transferred the visual depictions of the minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from one e-mail account to another, via the internet (count one).
Shaw also provided a voluntary statement to members of the FBI’s Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force in which he again admitted creating the fake Josh Shackfer MySpace page to communicate with underage girls. Shaw also admitted asking these underage girls to send him their pictures, including pictures of their breasts, buttocks, and genitalia. He said that the trading of pictures between him and the minor females occurred during sexually oriented chats. Shaw admitted sending several pictures to M.P. and again acknowledged that he knew M.P. was a minor. He said that M.P. sent him between five and seven pictures of her breasts, buttocks, and other “body poses.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”
The case was investigated by the Citrus County, Florida Sheriff’s Department; the Highland, Illinois Police Department; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force (SCETF). The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.