A La Grange Park man was arrested yesterday and charged with transporting child pornography via computer after federal agents searched his residence and found images of alleged child pornography. The defendant, Nathan Arger, 32, was charged in a criminal complaint, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today.
Arger is a part-time employee of Lyons Township High School in La Grange, where he works as a non-faculty staff member with the school’s radio and television stations. There are no allegations that he engaged in any illegal activity involving students or the school’s technology equipment. Arger appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in U.S. District Court and was ordered to remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to the complaint affidavit, on July 28, an undercover FBI agent signed onto an account on a peer-to-peer computer network. The agent queried the “friends list” on that account and observed that an individual using the screen name “Mrdizzle420” was logged into the file-sharing network. The agent proceeded to browse Mrdizzle420’s shared directories and downloaded more than 700 images and 12 video files directly from Mrdizzle420’s computer. The agent reviewed these files and determined that all of the downloaded images depicted alleged child pornography, including more than 100 images involving known child victims identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as a result of previous unrelated investigations.
FBI agents subsequently linked the shared files to an Internet account at Arger’s residence, according to the affidavit. During the search yesterday, agents conducted a preliminary review of a desktop computer and an auxiliary hard-drive and discovered more than 1,000 images and files corresponding to approximately 160 gigabytes of alleged child pornography and child erotica. Agents also found photographs and videos that allegedly depicted Arger with two different prepubescent girls, one of whom was partially nude.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force. The task force was established in 1996 and is part of a nationwide effort to combat the manufacture, distribution, and possession of child pornography. At present, there are 43 separate Innocent Images Task Forces in various FBI offices around the country, which are investigating similar cases. In Chicago, the IITF is comprised of FBI special agents and officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Addison Police Department.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Naana Frimpong.
Transporting child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.