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Former Bradley student faces three counts of child pornography possession

Peoria County Courthouse
Photo by WEEK 25 News

Former Bradley University student Zachary Large has been charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, class two felonies.

A Peoria County grand jury indicted Large on Oct. 10 on all three counts. The following afternoon, Bradley University Police arrested Large.

Large was released from the Peoria County Jail on Oct. 13 and is set to appear in court in front of Judge Paul Gilfillan on April 24 for a scheduling hearing. At the time of writing, a jury trial is scheduled for May 6.

The Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office, via a spokesperson, declined to comment on the case.

Large, a former history major, is not currently enrolled at Bradley, according to a university spokesperson. While not an education major, Large was reportedly interested in becoming a teacher and was a Department of Children and Family Services mandated reporter.

The case began when an anonymous CyberTip was made to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children on Dec. 5, 2022. The tip alleged that Large was in possession of 16 files on a Google Drive account registered with an email address in his name between June 19, 2021 and May 13, 2022.

An Illinois State Police (ISP) investigator assigned to the complaint acquired a search warrant for Large’s Google Drive infrastructure and subpoenaed Large’s internet service provider in December 2022.

When the investigator received the data from the companies, they located the 16 reported files in Large’s Google Drive and identified six of those files as “apparent child pornography,” eight files as “child pornography (unconfirmed)” and an additional file as “child unclothed.”

On the morning of April 21, 2023, the ISP investigator obtained a warrant from a Peoria County judge to search Large’s person and seize electronic devices that could contain child pornography.

The investigator made contact with Large on campus and asked Large if he was willing to talk about his online activities.

Large obliged and followed the investigator to their vehicle where an ISP Sergeant joined them. Large told investigators he first looked at child pornography between two and one-and-a-half years earlier and that “his natural curiosity got the best of him,” according to a report obtained by The Scout.

The report also noted that “[Large] might have downloaded child pornography while he was at school.”

Large consented to a search of his off-campus house. The investigator, with Large’s written consent, seized a computer tower from his bedroom. Large told the investigator that the computer did not contain child pornography.

After a search of his bedroom, Large asked the investigator to drive him to the Duryea Parking Deck. When they arrived, the investigator served Large with the search warrant and seized his iPhone, iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. Large stated that “there might be child pornography on his phone,” and that, according to the report, “… he watched child pornography about 1-2 months ago.”

A forensic investigation of the four seized devices revealed a variety of pornographic images and videos which depicted sexual actions performed by underage individuals, according to supplemental reports obtained by The Scout.

Investigators identified 54 images and videos depicting child pornography on Large’s iPhone, 153 video files on his MacBook Pro and 15 images and one video on his Google Drive.

If convicted, Large faces between three and five years imprisonment and fines of between $1,000 and $100,000 on each count.

Large’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

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