PEORIA, Ill. – Trial dates in April 2020 have been scheduled for three Bloomington area men who have been indicted in separate cases on charges of child sex trafficking. A federal grand jury returned the indictments on Feb. 19, 2020, and the cases were unsealed as each made their respective initial appearances in federal court.
Teon Williams, 20, of the 800 block of E. Washington St., Bloomington, Ill., is charged with three counts of child sex trafficking for offenses from 2017 through 2019. The case was unsealed on Feb. 25, when Williams was arraigned in federal court. Williams waived detention hearing and was ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Jahquan Howard, 26, of the 1700 block of Linda Lane, Normal, Ill., is charged with one count of child sex trafficking and one count of production of child pornography for offenses from 2018 through 2019. Howard was also arraigned on Feb. 25. Howard remains in law enforcement custody pending a detention hearing scheduled on Feb. 27.
Andrew Wheeler, 24, of the 500 block of Bradley Lane, Normal, Ill., is charged with three counts of child sex trafficking and one count of child sex trafficking conspiracy for offenses alleged to have occurred in 2019. Wheeler, arraigned on Feb. 21, waived detention hearing and was ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The indictments are the result of a long-term investigation by the Bloomington Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division into child sex trafficking in central Illinois. As the investigation progressed, assistance was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam W. Ghrist is representing the government in the prosecution in coordination with the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of child sex trafficking is 10 years to life in prison; for child pornography, the penalty is 15 to 30 years in prison; and, for child sex trafficking conspiracy, the penalty is five years to life in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.