EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A St. Clair County man is under federal indictment on multiple charges involving producing and distributing sexually explicit images of minors. Zachary Dennert, 19, of Belleville, Illinois, is accused of coercing two minors, including one under the age of 12 years old, to produce visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct. The offenses occurred between January and August 2020.
The four-count federal indictment further alleges that Dennert transported images of a third minor victim in August 2020 and distributed an image of child pornography over the internet in September 2020.
On May 26, 2021, Dennert appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty and entered
a not guilty plea. He is being held in custody pending a detention hearing next week.
Each count of producing child pornography is punishable by at least 15 years and up to 30 years in
prison. For the other charges, Dennert faces a possible penalty of 5-20 years’ imprisonment. All
four counts are also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by O’Fallon Police Department and United States Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandria Burns is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006
by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and
Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources
to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and
rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood,
please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety
education, please visit
www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”