SKOKIE, IL — Authorities said a Des Plaines man confessed to viewing and sharing images and videos depicting child sexual abuse over the internet using social media.
Sachin Pillai, 22, of the 2300 block of Eastview Drive, was arrested following an investigation by the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to prosecutors.
Pillai has been charged with one count of dissemination of child pornography, a class X felony that brings a minimum six-year sentence, as well as possession of child pornography, a class 2 felony punishable by sentences ranging from probation to seven years in prison, prosecutors said Thursday at his initial court appearance in Skokie.
Assistant State’s Attorney Colin DeBrabander said the investigation began with a tip from the social media company Kik, which reported in January that someone using the email address [email protected] had been sharing child sexual abuse material on the platform for over a month.
Investigators got a warrant for the Kik account and discovered 82 files containing child sexual abuse materials and the internet protocol, or IP, address used by the “UglyTurtleXXX” account, according to DeBrabander.
Prosecutors then sought and received a grand jury subpoena to get Comcast to reveal the subscriber information associated with the account’s IP address, he said.
That led law enforcement to the Des Plaines house Pillai shares with his parents and siblings, according to the prosecutor.
Authorities searched the home with a warrant Tuesday and seized Pillai’s cell phone and tablet. Investigators were able to extract the information on the devices later that day.
According to the sheriff’s office, more than a dozen digital files of child sexual abuse materials were found saved on the devices, and two dozen pornographic images and videos of children as young as 6 years old had been shared from the devices.
Sachin Pillai, 22, of Des Plaines, was charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography following an investigation by the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)
DeBrabander said Pillai waived his constitutional rights against self-incrimination and told investigators in a video-recorded statement that he used social media to view and share child sexual abuse materials.
“[Pillai] stated that he started using Kik with the Uglyturtle email to send messages,” the prosecutor said. “But then it took a dark turn.”
According to his attorney, Pillai recently graduated North Park University with honors and a degree in nursing and currently works as a nursing assistant at a rehabilitation center in Glenview.
Spokespeople for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Pillai also has worked as a youth karate instructor, although they declined to say where or when he was employed in such a capacity.
Pillai, who has no criminal record, was released from custody Thursday after his family returned from vacation and posted the $10,000 cash portion of his bond to secure his pretrial release.