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Chicago Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

This news story was published on February 20, 2012.
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CHICAGO—A former west suburban man was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for producing and transporting child pornography, federal law enforcement officials announced today. David Vernon Tank, 49, formerly of Wheaton, Roselle, and Bloomingdale, a registered sex offender in Illinois with a prior federal conviction for sex crimes against children, was sentenced yesterday to 35 years in prison.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall indicated her intention to impose restitution for the identified victims of the defendant’s child sexual exploitation. In addition, Judge Gottschall placed Tank on lifetime supervision following his release from prison. Tank must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for release and there is no parole in the federal prison system.

Tank possessed thousands of images of child pornography and pleaded guilty to transporting the illegal images and videos via computer networks. He also admitted instances of producing child pornography that he distributed via the Internet.

The sentences were announced today by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force.

Between 2006 and June 2009, Tank used a computer located at apartments in which he lived part-time in Roselle and later in Bloomingdale to download, view, trade, and transport child pornography. By the time he was arrested in June 2009, Tank had accumulated approximately 6,692 images and 344 videos of child pornography on various computer media that he maintained.

Tank also admitted that between mid-2007 and March 2009 he produced child pornography with a 6- to 8-year-old girl he babysat, using a cellular phone and digital camera to videotape and photograph his sexual abuse of the victim. Tank transported these images and videos online, and they are now being found by law enforcement on the computers of other sexual exploitation defendants around the country, according to court records.

In 2001, Tank was convicted in federal court in Northern California of conspiracy to sexually exploit children and related offenses and sentenced to 10 years in prison. In the mid-1990s, Tank was a member of a private chat room online called the “Orchid Club,” whose members conducted an “online molestation” by videotaping a 10-year-old girl engaging in various sex acts with certain club members and then immediately transmitting the images over the Internet. After serving nine years, including time credited before sentencing, he was released in 2005 and moved to Illinois, where he registered as a convicted sex offender.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Bell.

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