Dixon inmate serving time for child sex abuse dies after ‘long illness’

SHARE Dixon inmate serving time for child sex abuse dies after ‘long illness’

A man serving 13 years in prison for sexually abusing a child and owning child pornography in Lake and Cook counties died Sunday morning in Chicago.

Philip Helfand, 62, an inmate at Dixon Correctional Center, died at University of Illinois Hospital at 10:14 a.m., the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

Helfand died while under secure IDOC guard in a hospital after a “long illness,” according to Tom Shaer, Dept. of Corrections spokesman.

An autopsy conducted by the Cook County medical examiner’s office Monday indicated Helfand died from complications of “Group G Streptococcus sepsis,” cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and morbid obesity. He died from natural causes, the medical examiner’s office said.

In May 2006, Helfand, who previously lived in Park Ridge, was convicted in Lake County of aggravated criminal sexual abuse to a person younger than 13, and possessing child pornography, according to the IDOC website.

During a May 2006 investigation, Park Ridge police found thousands of pornographic images of children in Helfand’s home, including photos of a 9-year-old Lake Zurich girl he admitted abusing, Pioneer Press reported.

Police searched his home in the 2200 block of Parkside Drive on May 11, 2006 after reports of “unauthorized videotaping,” police said.

Helfand was arrested and charged for unauthorized videotaping after the search yielded 3,800 known images of child pornography and more than 13,000 “suspect images” of child pornography.

A Cook County judge found him guilty of having child pornography in March 2007, court records show.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

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