DOWNERS GROVE – A Downers Grove physician who had been practicing medicine in the village for about 30 years was charged with 17 felony counts of possession and dissemination of child pornography Thursday.
Edward J. McMenamin, 67, 4221 Saratoga Ave., Downers Grove, appeared in bond court Friday morning and faces five counts of dissemination of child pornography, each Class X felonies, and 12 Class 2 felony charges of possession of child pornography. His bond was set at $500,000 with 10 percent to apply.
"[The judge] asked Mr. McMenamin, the bond is $500,000, do you think you'll be able to raise $50,000 to get out and his response was, 'Yes, I think I should be able to get that,'" said DuPage County State's Attorney spokesman Paul Darrah.
Darrah said if found guilty on all counts, McMenamin could face 30 years in prison.
Earlier in 2014, authorities from the Downers Grove Police Department received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding the possible dissemination and possession of child pornography in Downers Grove.
An investigation led by the Downers Grove Police Department, with assistance from the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security, led authorities to McMenamin, who was allegedly in possession of numerous of images and videos of child pornography.
On Thursday, a $500,000 arrest warrant was issued for McMenamin by Judge Jeffrey MacKay. At about 5:30 p.m. the same day, McMenamin was taken into custody outside his home without incident by the Downers Grove Police Department.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works with the public, online industry and law enforcement to reduce child sexual exploitation, said Michelle Collins, vice president of the center's exploited children division.
Collins said the organization does not have information regarding the charges against McMenamin, but said the center operates a CyberTipline where people can report incidents of child pornography and other sexual crimes against children.
The CyberTipline receives about 10,000 reports a week, she said. The organization also receives reports from online electronic providers, such as Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter.
"If [online providers] become aware of child pornography on their servers, they're required by law to report it to the CyberTipline," she said. "I don't know in this case the source of the report, that may come out in some of the court documents, but essentially we receive reports through the cyber tip line regarding suspected child sexual exploitation."
"Our analysts review the report and try to determine the appropriate law enforcement agency to review the report."
From there, Collins said the law enforcement agency would have to go through the legal process to identify the actual individual suspected of possessing those materials.
Downers Grove Police Chief Robert Porter couldn't discuss specifics about the case, but said the reports were brought to authorities within the last "couple months." He also could not provide information about what led authorities to charge McMenamin.
Advocate Medical Group manager Gerry O'Keefe said in an email that based on the "information currently available" McMenamin's ability to practice medicine at Advocate has been suspended.
"To our knowledge, Dr. McMenamin has not been involved in any inappropriate acts with his patients," O'Keefe said. "We will continue to cooperate with the authorities in their investigation."
As of Monday morning, McMenamin's directory information was removed from Advocate Health Care's website.
McMenamin graduated from University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in Chicago in 1978, according to the Downers Grove Family Practice website. He did his residency at McNeal Memorial Hospital in Berwyn and became a partner of Downers Grove Family Practice in 1981.
McMenamin was also chairman of the Department of Family Practice at Good Samaritan Hospital, according to the website.
McMenamin’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 7 in front of Judge Blanche Hill Fawell. Additional conditions for McMenamin should he be able to post bond include no contact with children under 18 years of age and no computer or Internet access.