QUINCY -- Federal charges have been filed against a Quincy man alleging he secretly recorded video of children in his home during a two-year period.
Charles E. DeWeese, 39, was indicted by federal grand jury on four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Court records show he was arrested Oct. 12, and he is being held in federal custody without bond. A jury trial in the case is set for Dec. 5.
DeWeese had faced a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Adams County when he was arrested May 4 after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services notified the Quincy Police Department that he allegedly inappropriately touched a juvenile. During a search of his home at 2330 Payson Ave., police reportedly found several hidden cameras and microphones.
On a pretrial detention motion, prosecutors said the girl told investigators that DeWeese had made sexual contact with her twice during a two-year period. Based on her statements, police received permission to search DeWeese's house.
At the house, officers reportedly found two cameras mounted to the rafters in the basement, which DeWeese told them he installed because of a previous DCFS investigation.
The motion said that when an officer entered the dark basement bathroom, he saw a light glowing from inside the toilet bowl. DeWeese reportedly entered the bathroom and lifted the toilet seat, showing wires taped beneath it.
"I'm going to be honest with you, there is a camera," DeWeese reportedly told officers.
After that comment, officers left to obtain a search warrant for the residence. When they returned with the warrant, they reportedly found numerous cameras in basement bedrooms, DeWeese's basement office and the basement bathroom.
Officers seized more than 70 video cameras, more than seven cellphones with cameras, more than 20 computers, more than 41 hard drives and numerous other USB thumb drives, and more than 14 sex toys.
An estimated 15 terabytes of data was seized, and investigators have completely analyzed only a laptop computer in the case, which allegedly obtained 93 suspected production videos created involving two minors. Charges stem from videos created from 2014 to 2016, and prosecutors say two additional files were created in February and April 2017.
During an interview with police, DeWeese reportedly admitted to installing the cameras about four years before his arrest, according to the motion. He described himself to police as someone who has an addictive personality disorder, alledgedly saying, "Once I do something, it's hard for me to stop it."
Since the case is now being tried federally, the Adams County charge was dropped Monday. At the time of his arrest by federal authorities, DeWeese had been free on bond after posting $2,500.