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By BETH ZUMWALT
Three Nebo men have been indicted in federal court for the sexual exploitation of a child.
The indictment was unsealed Sept. 9 when Anthony M.Westemeyer, the last of the men to have his case presented to the grand jury, was arraigned in federal court.
Westemeyer, along with Bobby J. Warner and Micheal Wallace are charged with causing a minor victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct which was recorded and stored on a computer.
Wallace was arrested in Nebo, Sept. 10. Warner was arrested in Pittsfield, Sept. 13. United States Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins ordered that both men be detained pending trial at a related hearing Sept. 16. The U.S. Marshals Service lodged a detainer for Westemeyer, who is presently in the custody of the Pike County. Sheriff. Judge Schanzle-Haskins also ordered that Westermeyer be detained pending trial at the hearing.
Agencies participating in the investigation include U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; the Illinois Attorney General’s Office; the Pike County Sheriff’s Office; and the Pike County State’s Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah E. Seberger and Tanner K. Jacobs are representing the government in the prosecution.
Pike County State’s Attorney Zachary Boren stated, “After my review of this case, I believed it was appropriate to include our federal partners in this investigation. I appreciate the support of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and all other agencies involved.”
Pike County Sheriff David Greenwood agreed.
“We had been working the case for several months and decided we needed the help of the federal government,” Greenwood said. “They have so many more tools than we do.”
Anyone with information connected with this investigation is urged to call the Department of Homeland Security Investigations at (217) 547-2100.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide Department of Justice initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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.