Dark Web Child Porn Leads to 12 Year Sentence for Randolph County Man

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Using computer to commit a crime in darkness.
Using computer to commit a crime in darkness.

SPARTA, Ill. – A Randolph County man is heading to federal prison today after years of downloading


and  sharing  child  pornography  on  the  dark  web.  Kory  R.  Schulein,  37,  of  Sparta,  


Illinois,  was sentenced this afternoon to 151 months in prison for knowingly receiving child 


sexual abuse material over the internet. Schulein pled guilty to the charge in April.

According to court documents, Schulein first came to the attention to law enforcement in 2018 


during an FBI investigation of child pornography on the dark web. Agents were able to track his 


internet protocol address and executed a federal search warrant at his home. Schulein served as a 


moderator of a dark web site dedicated to child exploitation and had been an active participant on 


other sites. Prosecutors told the court that on one of the sites, Schulein had posted 13,733 


messages, many of which included links to child exploitation images and videos. Schulein also 


collected and stored over 9,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse material on an encrypted 


hard drive.

In handing down the sentence, which fell at the low end of the advisory sentencing guidelines, 


United States District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn observed that the guidelines called for a lengthy 


sentence “because of the colossal and immensely harmful impact” child pornography has on children. 


Schulein was unemployed and had for years actively participated in online forums where he 


interacted with people who were producing child pornography. Judge McGlynn noted that some of the 


images and videos collected by Schulein depicted children in bondage and adults raping children, 


including 5- year-old girls and toddlers. “You must have felt no mercy or empathy for these 


children you were watching being humiliated and tortured,” McGlynn told the defendant.

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During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors also submitted evidence that Schulein had engaged in an 


online “romantic relationship” with an 11-year-old girl in the United Kingdom. Judge McGlynn called 


Schulein’s involvement with the girl “classic grooming behavior.”


Some  victims  of  the  child  pornography  that  Schulein  received  and  shared  with  others  


submitted statements to the court. In their statements, they describe how impossible it is for them 


to live any semblance of a normal life while images of their sexual abuse are traded online. “Every 


time someone views this trash,” one survivor wrote, “he is once again making me re-live the most 


horrific part of my  childhood.  I  can  never  truly  heal….”  The  mother  of  another  victim  


wrote:  “Thousands  upon thousands of people, all over the world have access to images of our 


little girl during her darkest days…. A person can download her image, create their own child 


pornography movie, share it with


other monsters, or keep it for themselves to continually exploit our daughter in their own private 


bedroom.” Knowing that her abuse is memorialized on the internet for people like the defendant to


view and share forever “will shatter her soul,” the victim’s mother wrote.

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As part of his sentence, Schulein was ordered to serve 10 years on supervised release and pay a 


$5,000 special assessment. He previously paid $12,000 in restitution to several of the victims.

The case was investigated by FBI-Springfield, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. 


Marshals Service.

Trial Attorneys Jessica Urban and Alicia A. Bove of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and 


Obscenity  Section  (CEOS)  and  Assistant  U.S.  Attorney  Nathan  D.  Stump  of  the  U.S.  


Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois prosecuted the case.

This 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 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.justice.gov/psc.


 

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