Inside the raid to catch an alleged child pornographer in Round Lake Beach

An ABC7 Eyewitness News Exclusive
ROUND LAKE BEACH, Ill. (WLS) -- A Round Lake Beach man was in court Thursday, charged with child pornography. John Cady was arrested during a raid on his home Wednesday by the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The sun is not long up. Lake County Sheriff's deputies who make up a Cyber Crimes Unit have gathered in a Round Lake Beach parking lot.

"Our target is an IT guy. At least, that's what it looks like from some of his social media," says Det. Chris Covelli, Lake County Sheriff's Cyber Crimes Unit.

Their target has allegedly shared child pornography. They have a search warrant, and they arrive early at the house on Elm Street. It happens to be a neighborhood with many children, and some are curious about the arrival of so many police officers.

The man who police want to talk to is John Cady, 54, a computer IT specialist. He lives alone. Deputies say he is initially cooperative. They question him in an unmarked car while investigators in the house photograph and gather up computer gear. A tower, laptop, external hard drives. In a preliminary look, they find, they say, images of child pornography.

Cady is taken to the Lake County Sheriff's office where he will later be charged with six counts of possession of child pornography.

What follows is an extensive, forensic review of all the seized electronics. Cyber Crimes investigators spend hours finding what's been downloaded, and if any of it has been reproduced. They find, they say, over 30 videos including some labeled "PTHC," an acronym for "pre-teen hard core."

"A lot of the videos showed children under 13 engaged in sex acts," Det. Covelli says.

That is sufficient to support the possession charges against Cady who was ordered held on a $100,000 bond. The forensic work goes on to determine if any of the suspect videos were copied which would enhance criminal charges. This arrest is not unique - certainly not for this unit, and others like it.

"With the availability of the internet and being able to access files world-wide, it's become a major issue that's really exploded," Covelli says.

In the past year, there have been 10 child porn search warrants served by the Lake County Sheriff's Cyber Crimes Unit. That is but a snapshot of a larger picture involving internet crimes against children in the Chicago area and across the country. The law enforcement focus on it continues to increase simply because of the astonishing volume and accessibility of child pornography.
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