Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 22, 2021
Springfield Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Attempted Enticement of a Minor
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois, man, Rafael Mercado Berrios, 42, of the 700 block of South Durkin Drive, was sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by ten years of supervised release, on October 20, 2021, for attempted enticement of a minor and use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor.
Mercado Berrios was convicted in June 2021 following a jury trial in which the United States presented evidence establishing that Mercado Berrios had used a mobile application to arrange to meet a person he believed to be a 15-year-old minor for sexual activity.
At Mercado Berrios’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sue E. Myerscough found that he had also attempted to obstruct justice by requesting that a former girlfriend delete information from his computer and directing her not to speak to law enforcement agencies, as well as telling her what to say if she did choose to speak.
The statutory penalty for attempted enticement of a minor is ten years to life imprisonment. The statutory penalty for use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor is not more than five years imprisonment. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000.
The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office, 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. Attorneys Tanner K. Jacobs and Gregory K. Harris represented the government in the prosecution.
The case against Mercado Berrios was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-cdil/pr/springfield-man-sentenced-ten-years-prison-attempted-enticement-minor
Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeWestern District of Missouri
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, October 25, 2021
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man who downloaded thousands of images and videos of child pornography was sentenced in federal court today.
Nicholas Goins, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Goins to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration and ordered Goins to pay $24,000 in restitution to his victims. Goins will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements, which may apply throughout his life.
On March 3, 2020, Goins pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and distributing child pornography. He has been in federal custody since December 2019.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Goins’s residence on March 7, 2019. Officers seized multiple digital storage devices, which contained thousands of images and videos of child pornography. A forensic examination discovered messaging sessions with other individuals in which they shared child pornography. Goins actively encouraged such exchanges. One of the participants posted imagery of himself sexually abusing a 4-year-old child victim, for which he was charged in another district.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and the FBI.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”