A Zion man has been arrested after investigators with the sheriff’s office and attorney general’s office found him in possession of child pornography, authorities said.
Darin Richardson, 50, of Zion, was charged with 11 counts of possession of child pornography, which are Class 2 felonies.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced that his investigators, along with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, conducted a search warrant at Richardson’s residence on West State Line Road in Zion on Tuesday.
Richardson was taken into custody after evidence of child pornography was discovered, the attorney general’s office said.
“Child pornography exploits children, often leaving victims with lifelong trauma,” Raoul said.
“The collaborations between the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and local law enforcement are essential to protecting children and keeping child pornography out of our communities,” he added.
Richardson was ordered to be held in the Lake County jail on a $300,000 bond. He faces between 33 and 77 years in prison if found guilty.
“I am very proud of the collaboration in this investigation and arrest, which led to the apprehension of a man who preyed on our most vulnerable,” Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“Child predators commonly lurk in the shadows of the internet. I cannot stress it enough: parents, please be proactive in monitoring who your children communicate with online,” Idleburg added.
Richardson was previously court-martialed and found guilty in 1991 of committing an indecent act upon a male under the age of 16, committing an indecent act upon a female under the age of 16, taking indecent liberties with a male under the age of 16, and taking indecent liberties with a female under the age of 16.
Richardson had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army and sentenced to six years confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. for those crimes.
The recent arrest of Richardson is part of Attorney General Raoul’s work to investigate and prosecute child pornographers in Illinois.
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 Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,700 arrests of sexual predators since 2006. The task force has also provided internet safety training and education to more than 950,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 22,000 law enforcement professionals.