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Police say Antioch sex offender exchanged nude photos with dozens of children across Illinois, other states

Steven S. Tipman, 31, of Antioch.

A convicted sex offender from Antioch was arrested on Monday after detectives learned the man sent and received nude photos from dozens of children in Illinois and other states.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office concluded an investigation on Monday that resulted in the arrest of Steven S. Tipman.

Tipman, 31, of the 39400 block of North Oak Avenue in unincorporated Antioch, is a registered child sexual predator and is required to register his social media accounts with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier this month, Lake County sheriff’s detectives received information that Tipman was communicating with who he believed were children from New York and Virginia.

Undercover detectives from the New York State Police and Virginia State Police posed as 12-year-old girls and were communicating with Tipman.

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Tipman sent nude photos of himself to investigators that he thought were the 12-year-old girls, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli.

Lake County sheriff’s detectives obtained a search warrant for Tipman’s home based on the fact he failed to register his social media accounts and was sending nude photos to who he believed to be children.

During the execution of the search warrant, Lake County sheriff’s detectives were assisted by Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office investigators and electronic detection canine Browser.

Browser specializes in sniffing out computer electronics. Numerous computers and other electronics were seized during the search warrant and are being analyzed.

Evidence gathered during the search warrant shows that Tipman had communicated with dozens of children and exchanged nude photos with them, Covelli said.

Tipman primarily used the applications Snapchat, Meet24 and OkCupid to meet and begin conversations with the children.

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Sheriff John D. Idleburg said that parents should always be cognizant of what their children are doing online.

“Throughout this pandemic, children have been utilizing technology more than ever before. While there are great benefits to technology, it is important to remember child predators often lurk in the shadows of the internet,” Idleburg said.

“Remember to check the content inside of applications used by your children and I recommend that electronics should always be charged overnight somewhere other than your child’s bedroom,” Idleburg added.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of violating the sexual offender act by failing to register a website or social media account, grooming and unlawful contact with a child by a child sexual offender. Additional charges are likely, Covelli said.

“I want to commend the sheriff’s office and our investigative team who assisted. We are committed to working with law enforcement to protect children and to ensure the community’s safety,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

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“To those who would use computers and the internet to prey on children, we will find you, and bring you to justice,” he added.

Tipman remains held in the Lake County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 6.