PEORIA — A Mattoon man faces up to 50 years in federal prison after a jury convicted him of child pornography and related offenses.
The jury reached its guilty verdict Friday in the case against Jeffrey M. West, 53, who was accused of having numerous images of child pornography found during a sexual abuse investigation.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said evidence presented during West’s trial included analysis of computer equipment police found after a boy reported that West sexually abused him in 2019.
The release said the investigation found more than 1,000 images of child pornography on different devices, both at West’s home and at the business he then operated, West Side Motors in Mattoon.
Also according to the news release, there was evidence that West used a video-chatting website to try to get “multiple” boys to engage in sexual conduct with him.
The release said West’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Sept. 13, when a sentence in federal prison of 25 to 50 years will be required. It said the jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching its verdict.
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A federal indictment was returned against West in September 2019, when he was already facing charges in Coles County Circuit Court in connection with the child pornography and the reported sexual abuse of the boy.
The Coles County child pornography charges were dismissed in favor of the federal prosecution. However, the county sexual abuse case is still pending and a hearing in the case is scheduled for May 3.
That case marked the second sex offense charge against West in Coles County in 18 years. He pleaded guilty in 2003 to charges accusing him of fondling children during two incidents two years earlier.