Crime

19-year-old accused of sexually abusing 13-year-old near Belleville

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

A 19-year-old East St. Louis man is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child.

St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department investigated Alex R. Brownlee, 19, after being contacted about the possible sexual abuse of a 13-year-old child.

Brownlee is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was being held at the St. Clair County Jail on Thursday on a $150,000 bail.

Abuse of the child occurred in the east end of unincorporated Belleville in September and October this year, investigators with the sheriff’s office and the Illinois Department of Children and Families said.

Police believe the child and Brownlee met through social media, Capt. Bruce Fleshren of the Sheriff’s Department said. The department does not think there are more victims.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.
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