CHICAGO—A former Hoffman Estates man was sentenced yesterday to 27 years in federal prison for manufacturing, transporting, and possessing child pornography. The defendant, Donald R. Peppers, 36, pled guilty in August, admitting that he had produced a video of himself sexually molesting a 1-year-old minor knowing that it would be disseminated in interstate commerce via computer. Using an online profile in the name of "illinoisdonboy31," Peppers communicated via computer about brutally sexually molesting children, and he created and traded images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge William Hibbler. Peppers 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. The sentence was 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.
Peppers has been in federal custody since June 3, 2009, when he was arrested by FBI agents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was traveling on business at the time. According to court documents, Peppers had been identified by the FBI's Innocent Images Task Force in Virginia as a possible distributor of child pornography over the Internet.
A search of Peppers' residence by the FBI and Hoffman Estates police following his arrest yielded a collection of hundreds of thousands of images and videos of child pornography, which he had stored on various computer hard drives.
According to his guilty plea, in May 2009, Peppers began communicating with an undercover agent via an internet chat room, using the name "illinoisdonboy31." During these chats, Peppers stated that he collected child pornography and had engaged in illicit sexual conduct with minors. Peppers sent the undercover agent video files depicting the sexual molestation of minors by an adult male, including the one in which Peppers himself molested the infant victim.