Mt. Vernon man sentenced to more than 140 years for child sex crimes

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A 49-year-old Mt. Vernon man was sentenced Thursday in Jefferson County Court to more than 140 years in prison on multiple counts of child pornography.

Michael L. Wheeler had pleaded guilty in February to five counts of producing child pornography and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 13 years old. Judge Jerry Crisel sentenced Wheeler Thursday to 142 years in prison.

According to Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun, Wheeler pleaded open to Counts 3 through 9, which include five Class X felony charges for child pornography that must be served consecutively and could have resulted in as much as 150 years in prison.

The two Class 2 felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under the age of 13 could have fetched sentences of between 3 and 7 years in prison.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Bobby Wallace says Wheeler was taken into custody after the sheriff’s office received a complaint and an image of child pornography was seized from an electronic device.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Julie Kozuszek.