PEORIA, Ill. – A federal jury deliberated for just over 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict this afternoon against Robert Shawn Anderson, 52, of the 300 block of Spruce Street in Paxton, Ill., for one count of enticement of a minor.
Over two days of testimony this week, the government presented evidence to establish that Anderson arranged to meet an individual he believed to be a 15-year-old minor for sexual activity on the dating application MeetMe.
Sentencing for Anderson has been scheduled for January 10, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm at the federal courthouse in Peoria, Ill. Anderson faces statutory penalties of 10 years to life imprisonment. He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
“This guilty verdict shows both the ongoing threat to our children and that law enforcement and prosecutors are working together to combat the threat,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Doug Quivey. “We will all collectively continue to work together to protect our children.”
“I appreciate Acting U.S. Attorney Doug Quivey’s partnership with my office, which is critical to holding accountable individuals who prey on minors,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “This verdict underscores the importance of collaboration between state and federal law enforcement, and I look forward to our continued work to protect Illinois’ children.”
“Children can be easily lured into the clutches of those who wish to betray and exploit them online, said David Nanz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division. “The FBI is committed to flushing out sexual predators with a sense of urgency to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. If you suspect someone is having inappropriate contact with a minor, report it to law enforcement immediately.”
Anderson was arrested over Valentine’s Day weekend 2020 as part of a Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division, operation conducted in Kankakee County, Ill. The operation was conducted with the assistance of the Bradley Police Department, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon O’Brien – also Deputy Bureau Chief for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office – and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson represented the government at trial.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Central District of Illinois