Silvis Man Receives Over 17 Years in Federal Prison for Child Pornography Charges
A Silvis man, Aaron Kyle Ruthey, has been sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The sentencing was carried out by Chief District Judge Sara Darrow in U.S. District Court, Peoria.
Ruthey, 43, was arrested on August 17, 2022, by Moline Police Officer Jeremy McAuliffe, who was working as an agent for the U.S. Secret Service as a Task Force Officer at the time of the arrest.
The arrest came after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received four cybertip reports from Twitter regarding apparent child sexual exploitation activity. The reports indicated that child pornography had been shared, sent, received, and stored on Twitter between December 9, 2020, and August 10, 2021.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Ruthey had been selling child pornography over the internet using various applications, including Twitter and Wickr. Wickr Me, a free app that provides end-to-end encryption of messages, was used by Ruthey to carry out his illegal activities.
The case against Ruthey was further strengthened when an FBI online covert employee conducted an undercover investigation using the Wickr platform. The agent struck a deal with Ruthey and received child pornography files from him, confirming his involvement in the illegal trade.
On September 8, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted Ruthey on one count each of distribution, sale, and possession of child pornography. Ruthey pleaded guilty to all three charges on June 15, 2023, during a hearing in federal court.
In addition to his prison sentence, Ruthey will also be required to spend 10 years on supervised release. Furthermore, he has been ordered to pay restitution totaling $67,500 to nine victims.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Moline Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation-Springfield Office as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Child pornography is a serious crime that exploits and harms innocent children. The sentencing of Ruthey sends a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated, and those involved will face severe consequences.