EAST ST. LOUIS – A federal district judge sentenced a registered sex offender to spend 485 months in prison after a jury convicted him of sexually exploiting another minor.

In addition to imprisonment, the judge also ordered Dan R. Waeckerle, Jr., 45, of Swansea, to serve a lifetime of supervised release and pay a $1,000 fine. In January, a jury found Waeckerle 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.

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“Child predators like Waeckerle leave their victims with lasting trauma, and this significant prison sentence sends a strong message to abusers,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to protect children from offenders. I commend the O’Fallon Police Department for their investigation which ultimately placed Waeckerle behind bars.”

According to court documents, Waeckerle had sexually explicit conversations with a 15-year-old minor via text message in July 2021. Evidence presented during the trial revealed Waeckerle sent the minor a genital image, requested sexually explicit images and videos from the minor, and discussed meeting the minor for sex.

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“We are proud to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to help keep children safe from predators,” said David Bolin, Acting Supervisor for the U.S. Secret Service Springfield Resident Office. “We will continue working with our partners to protect children and deter other predators from harming them in the future.”

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

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.

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