RI man awaits sentencing for child molestation

Originally Posted Online: April 04, 2014, 8:52 pm
Last Updated: April 04, 2014, 11:15 pm
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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

A Rock Island man indicted on charges accusing him of molesting infants pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Shane A. Viren, 41, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 14 by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Rock Island. At that time, a fourth count of possession of child pornography is expected to be dismissed.

Mr. Viren already is a registered sex offender after being convicted, at the age of 28, of criminal sexual assault in Missouri, according to the Illinois Sex Offender Registry.

He was accused in the most recent case of photographing at least three infants in sexually explicit poses, from 2009 to 2011, while babysitting in Rock Island, according to documents filed by federal prosecutors.

An investigation was launched in March 2012 after the Rock Island Police Department received a complaint alleging that, three years before, Mr. Viren had raped a woman and taken nude photographs of her, records say.

According to the complaint, the adult victim told police she continued to have intercourse with Mr. Viren under threat he would distribute the photographs and claimed she had seen Mr. Viren with a photograph of a partially nude teen girl.

During subsequent police interviews, Mr. Viren admitted to having downloaded pornographic images of children, including toddlers, and estimated he possessed thousands of images and less than 50 videos of minors.

A thumb drive and SD card seized from Mr. Viren's home were reviewed by forensic experts at the Moline Police Department and U.S. Secret Service, and at least 334 photographs of minors were found.

Mr. Viren later confessed to police that he had taken photographs of the infants and admitted to acts of sexual abuse, court records say.

He was arrested July 17, 2013, by agents from the U.S. Secret Service.

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