Child pornography investigation lead police from Espresso Royale to arrest

A Mahomet man has been arrested on charges of child pornography after a tip led police from the Espresso Royale at 602 E. Daniel Street to the man’s home, according to a Tuesday press release.

Michael Denight, 57, was taken into custody on Feb. 16 after a three-day investigation by Champaign Police, led by Detective Tom Petrilli.

On Feb. 13, an Espresso Royale patron reported to an employee having seen a video device mounted to the wall of the women’s restroom. The two then observed a man, now identified as Denight, entering the restroom, then quickly exiting the coffee shop. However, several personal items of Denight’s were left behind, leading police to his home in Mahomet.

During the investigation, Petrilli conducted several personal interviews with Denight, and Patrick Simons of the Champaign Police examined Denight’s computer and computer equipment. During the examination, hundreds of images of females, taken in both private and public restrooms, were discovered. These images appear to have been taken without consent.

Of the images, several juvenile girls, aged between 12 and 15, were unsuspectingly videotaped. According to the press release, the girls have been identified and contacted by police.

Champaign police arrested Denight after collecting enough evidence against him to warrant “probable cause.” Police then turned Denight over to U.S. Marshals. Denight is currently housed at the Dewitt County Jail in Clinton, Ill.

Denight appeared in Federal Court Friday, where he was informed of his charges. He is being held without bond until his next court appearance this Friday at 10:15 in front of Judge David Bernthal at the Federal Courthouse at 201 S. Vine Street in Urbana.

Elly Peirson, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Urbana division, said that in three years working with children’s issues, she had prosecuted between 40 and 45 cases of child pornography.