10 arrested over a single weekend for trying to engage in sexual activity with a child

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins had a busy day on Monday, August 31 as one by one, ten men appeared before him via video teleconference to make their initial court appearance to answer to federal charges against them for their online activities over the previous weekend.


The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of Illinois issued a statement through the Department of Justice's  Project Safe Childhood announcing that each of the ten men arrested in Springfield, Illinois over the course of the weekend had contacted individuals they believed to be minors through various social media platforms.  Their clear intent was to try and meet with the minor to engage in sexual activity.


Each of the men have been charged with attempted enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity.  If found guilty they face a minimum of 10 years in prison with the possibility of life.


Those arrested and charged are:

  • Charles E. Brinkley, 51, of Festus, Mo., presently working in Jacksonville, Ill.;
  • Rafael Mercado Berrios, aka Jose Berrios, 41, of the 1200 block of N. 4th St., Springfield;
  • Zachary Jones, 33, of the 200 block of S. Parker Ave., Springfield;
  • James Simons, Jr. 28, of the 200 block of N. Illinois St., Springfield;
  • Matthew Faubel, 49, of the 300 block of N. Lincoln Ave., Springfield;
  • Jason King, 35, of Assumption, Ill.;
  • Matthew Wetzel, 35, of the 800 block of W. Edwards St., Springfield;
  • Shondell Hodges, 47, of Chicago;
  • Stacey Furlow, 59, of the 3700 block of Peoria Rd., Springfield; and,
  • James Hammonds, 20, of the 1800 block of Gregory Ct., Springfield.