URBANA – A Hoopeston, man, Dalton M.C. Burmeister, 27, was sentenced today to 30 years in federal prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release, for sexual exploitation of a child and trafficking in child pornography.
Burmeister was arrested on December 22, 2020, and charged by criminal complaint, according to a press release issued by the United State's Attorney's Office. According to the affidavit supporting the complaint, Burmeister exploited children under the age of 6 to engage in sexual activity and to create an image of that conduct. The affidavit further alleged that Burmeister trafficked images of child pornography with another unidentified individual.
During the sentencing hearing, Senior U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm commented on the egregiousness of Burmeister’s conduct, citing the explicit text messages he had sent regarding “vulnerable” and “trusting” children in his care. The judge said that the production of sexually explicit images of these young children was “bad enough” and stated that Burmeister had caused even more harm by sharing the images.
The indictment against Burmeister had charged him with four counts of sexual exploitation of a child, three counts of distribution of child pornography, and one count of receipt of child pornography, all in September 2020. Burmeister was also charged with possession of a cellular telephone containing child pornography in December 2020. He pleaded guilty to all counts in June 2021.
The aggregate 30-year sentence imposed by the judge consisted of concurrent sentences of 30 years’ imprisonment on each of the sexual exploitation counts, as well as concurrent sentences of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the distribution, receipt, and possession counts; the judge also ordered that the 20-year sentences run concurrent to the 30-year sentences on the sexual exploitation counts.
The statutory penalty for each count of sexual exploitation of a child is 15 to 30 years in prison. For each count of distribution of child pornography and receipt of child pornography, the statutory penalty is five to 20 years in prison. For the possession of child pornography count, the statutory penalty is up to 20 years in prison. Each count carries a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson represents the government in the prosecution. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.