SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – U.S. Attorney John Milhiser and FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox announced that 10 men were arrested over the weekend in Springfield, Ill., and charged in separate criminal complaints with attempted enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity. The complaints were unsealed on August 31, throughout the day, as each made their respective initial appearance in federal court in Springfield, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins via video teleconference. Each was ordered detained pending hearings scheduled for later this week.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the complaints, each of the men allegedly used various social media applications to contact and engage with individuals whom they believed to be minors, under the age of 18 with the intent of meeting to engage in sexual activity.
The charges are the result of investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Springfield Police Department; and, the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanner K. Jacobs is representing the federal government in the case prosecutions in coordination with Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Shaw of the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The defendants charged with attempted enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity are:
- Charles E. Brinkley, 51, of Festus, Mo., presently working in Jacksonville, Ill.;
- Rafael Mercado Berrios, aka Jose Berrios, 41, of the 1200 block of N. 4th St., Springfield;
- Zachary Jones, 33, of the 200 block of S. Parker Ave., Springfield;
- James Simons, Jr. 28, of the 200 block of N. Illinois St., Springfield;
- Matthew Faubel, 49, of the 300 block of N. Lincoln Ave., Springfield;
- Jason King, 35, of Assumption, Ill.;
- Matthew Wetzel, 35, of the 800 block of W. Edwards St., Springfield;
- Shondell Hodges, 47, of Chicago;
- Stacey Furlow, 59, of the 3700 block of Peoria Rd., Springfield; and,
- James Hammonds, 20, of the 1800 block of Gregory Ct., Springfield.
If convicted, for the offense of attempted enticement of a minor, each defendant faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.