October 24th, 2007 10:25 EST
Elgin man sentenced to 60 years for sexually exploiting a 12-year-old victim
CHICAGO - An Elgin man was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison last week for videotaping and photographing himself as he sexually abused a 12-year-old girl. This sentence resulted from a criminal investigation conducted by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Robert M. Skinner, 41, was sentenced Oct. 19 to two consecutive 30-year terms in prison for sexually exploiting a child - one term for videotaping, and the second term for photographing. U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning sentenced Skinner to the maximum penalties under the federal sentencing guidelines.
ICE initiated the investigation into Skinner after he was fired from his job as a computer technician in April 2006. His former employer notified federal authorities after discovering what appeared to be images of child pornography on his work laptop computer. ICE agents conducted a forensic exam of the laptop and discovered nude photographs of the 12-year-old victim.
ICE agents, in conjunction with the Elgin Police Department, executed a federal search warrant May 1, 2006, at Skinner's Elgin residence. Numerous computers and other media were seized by ICE, including a videotape depicting Skinner having sex with the 12-year-old victim. ICE agents arrested Skinner at the scene.
Skinner pleaded guilty June 26 to two counts of sexual exploiting a minor.
"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of being sexually exploited," said Elissa A. Brown, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE is committed to protecting children who can't protect themselves, and we will relentlessly pursue anyone who physically abuses or sexually exploits our kids."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Donovan, Northern District of Illinois, successfully prosecuted this case.
This investigation into Skinner was part of Operation Predator, a national ICE initiative that protects children by investigating and presenting for prosecution pedophiles, Internet predators, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,000 child predators and sex offenders nationwide, including more than 540 in Illinois.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com
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