Benton, IL (KSDK) - A 62-year-old Metro East man was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison Wednesday on child pornography charges, US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton said.
According to court documents, authorities launched an investigation on June 13, 2011 after an undercover office identified a computer in Illinois offering child pornography for downloading. The officer downloaded five images and/or video files depicting child porn from that computer. During the course of his investigation, the undercover officer learned the computer he was downloading files from was located from a residence in Belleville, Illinois.
Officers executed a search warrant on the home of Garold Semelka, found a computer and seized it. Semelka admitted to having child porn on the computer and told police they would find between 20 and 30 files depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit activity on the computer. He also confessed to watching porn involving children as young as toddlers, and that he still had more of those types of files on his computer.
Garold Semelka said he downloaded the images and video via the internet using a file sharing program. He also told police he may have been downloading and viewing child pornography for eight to ten years and that he had downloaded child porn within one to two weeks prior to his interview.
Authorities performed a forensic review of Semelka's computer and discovered more than 600 images and/or video files of minors engaging in sexual activity. Investigators also determined that Semelka downloaded at least three child porn videos on April 9, 2011.
Semelka was charged with one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 151 months on the first charge and 120 months on the second. The sentences will run concurrently, but there is no parole in the federal system.