URBANA, Ill. – An initial trial date in June has been scheduled for a New Berlin, Ill., man, Scott A. Gentry, 57, who appeared in federal court on April 12 for arraignment on federal child pornography charges. Gentry was previously arrested on Jan. 24, 2019, on charges filed in Macon County. The federal indictment, returned by the grand jury on April 2, had remained sealed pending Gentry’s arrest and transfer of the case to federal court.
Gentry appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long who ordered that Gentry remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Trial for Gentry was scheduled on June 18, 2019, before Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow in Urbana.
The indictment alleges that in November and December 2016, and April 2017, Gentry used a computer or device to receive images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and in January 2019, that Gentry possessed images of child pornography in both Sangamon and Macon counties.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of receipt of child pornography (three counts) is five to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000; possession of child pornography (two counts) carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson is representing the government in the prosecution in coordination with the Macon and Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Offices. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Macon County Sheriff’s office, the Sangamon County Sheriff’s office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.