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Sheffield man requests jury trial on pornography possession charge

Not-guilty plea entered

PRINCETON — The 45-year-old Sheffield man arrested Sept. 3 on charges of possession of child pornography is out on bond after pleading not guilty during an arraignment hearing Thursday.

Kenneth Smith waived his right to a preliminary hearing and an indictment by the Bureau County grand jury, which allowed for his arraignment hearing to be moved up one day earlier than originally scheduled.

After he pleaded not guilty, Smith demanded a jury trial.

Bureau County Circuit Judge Marc Bernabei set Smith’s jury trial for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12. His pretrial was set for 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24.

If found guilty of the Class 2 felony, Smith faces 3-7 years in prison. He also could be sentenced to serve county jail time from six months or up to four years’ probation.

Smith could also be ordered to pay fines totaling anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 and have to register as a sex offender for life.

When Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at Smith’s home on Sept. 3, forensic examiners found hundreds of images on his cellphone and electronic tablet of child pornography involving girls between the ages of 5 and 7 years old.

Police had been notified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) that Smith had downloaded child pornographic images. During an interview with police, Smith admitted to downloading some of the images.

Police say Smith told them he would look at the images and delete them when he realized the girls were juveniles. Smith made his first appearance in court Sept. 4, where his bond was set at $15,000; he had to post $1,500 to be released. The bond comes with a condition that he is not allowed to access the internet or be in possession of electronics with internet access while out on bond.

Goldie Rapp, Senior Staff Writer at the Bureau County Republican can be reached at (815) 875-4461, EXT 6335.

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