Suspects from Bloomington and Peoria were among those arrested last weekend during an FBI sting targeting men who allegedly used social media to try and lure minors into sexual activity.
The nine Central Illinois suspects were each charged with attempted enticement of a child. They made their first appearances in federal court Monday. Prosecutors announced the charges Wednesday.
The defendants are:
- Thomas Bauer, 35, Bloomington
- Thomas R. Alt, 26, Peoria
- Travis Koch, 38, Peoria
- Hector Martinez, 56, Peoria
- Bernard Waibel, 55, Peoria
- Jacob N. Beeney, 35, Trivoli
- Patrick Lanan, 39, Mapleton
- Tyler D. Lee, 33, Galesburg
- Keith Madson, 35, Canton
They’re accused of using social media to “contact and engage with FBI online covert employees posing as minors … to make arrangements to meet the minor girl or boy with the intent to engage in sexual activity,” the U.S. attorney's office said. They were arrested as they arrived at or near a designated address in Peoria.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.