A Toulon man was arrested and charged with Dissemination of Child Pornography by the Illinois Attorney General on November 14, 2023. Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, announced the arrest of Matthew R. Shipp, 19, of Toulon after Raoul’s investigators and the Geneseo Police Department found evidence of child pornography during a search of a residence in rural Stark County. Shipp was arrested and charged with five counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography/Victim under 13 (Class X Felony). A Probable Cause and Detention Hearings were held in Marshall County and a Stark County Judge ordered Shipp to be detained in the Henry County Jail. The hearing was continued to November 17, 2023, at 2:30 PM. Shipp faces up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for each count.
The case is part of Raoul’s ongoing work, in collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement officials throughout Illinois, to apprehend offenders who download and trade child pornography online.
“Survivors of child exploitation and abuse are re-victimized each and every time an image is downloaded or shared online,” Raoul said. “I will continue to partner with local law enforcement agencies to investigate these heinous crimes and protect Illinois children and families from those who exploit and abuse children.”
The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Raoul’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased. In 2022, reports to the ICAC increased by 26% over 2021.
Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC task forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 175 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 35,000 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 600 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,990 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to tens of thousands of parents, teachers, students and law enforcement professionals.
Attorney General Raoul also reminded the public that online child sexual exploitation can be reported at www.cybertipline.com, and child abuse can be reported at dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov. In addition, local child advocacy centers can be found at www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Shantikumar Kulkarni is prosecuting the case for Raoul’s High Tech Crimes Bureau.