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Jury Convicts Registered Sex Offender of Sexually Exploiting a Minor

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U.S. Attorney's Office
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BENTON, Ill. – A Federal jury convicted a registered sex offender in St. Clair County of sexually exploiting another minor.

Members of the jury found Dan R. Waeckerle, Jr., 44, of Swansea, guilty of soliciting an obscene visual depiction of a minor, transferring obscene matter to a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and offense by a registered sex offender.

“I’m grateful for the law enforcement agencies who investigated this case and pursued justice for Waeckerle’s victim and prevented other children from his abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe.

According to court documents, Waeckerle had sexually explicit conversations with a minor via text message in July 2021. Evidence presented during the trial revealed Waeckerle sent the minor a nude image, requested sexually explicit images from the minor, and discussed meeting the minor for sex.  

“We are thankful for the training and resources provided by our Federal partners which have allowed our detectives to be extremely successful in investigating cases such as these,” said O’Fallon Police Captain Mike Mojzis. “We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our detectives in striving to seek justice for the victim.”

Waeckerle was previously convicted of aggravated sexual abuse against a minor in Hamilton County in 2010.

“The U.S. Secret Service remains committed to investigating and arresting individuals who sexually exploit children and transmit child sexual abuse material,” Stephen S. Webster, Resident Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Springfield Resident Office, said. “We are proud of our partnerships with the Federal, state, and local agencies who work collectively to investigate and prosecute crimes against minors. These predators cause significant and long-lasting damage, and we are dedicated to holding them accountable.”

Sexual exploitation of a minor carries a statutory minimum of 25 years’ imprisonment due to Waeckerle’s prior criminal history. Waeckerle’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on May 21, 2024, at the Federal courthouse in Benton.

This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service Central and Southern Illinois Financial and Cyber Crimes Task Force, with members from the O’Fallon Police Department leading the investigation. Additional support was provided by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Swansea Police Department and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ali Burns and Zoe Gross prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals Federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.