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Former Hancock worker who offered free Tilt rides gets 15 years in child porn case

Christopher Colon pleaded guilty in September 2019, two years after the feds say a child exploitation investigation into another man helped lead them to Colon.

The Dirksen Federal Courthouse
The Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Sun-Times file

A man accused of using his job at the John Hancock building to lure fathers and sons into sexual encounters by offering them free Tilt rides was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for receiving child pornography.

Christopher Colon pleaded guilty in September 2019, two years after the feds say a child exploitation investigation into another man, Ronald Feder, helped lead them to Colon. The feds say Colon and Feder met at a Walmart parking lot in Skokie in 2017 to watch child pornography together.

Feder is now serving a 25-year prison sentence for child pornography.

Before U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland handed down the mandatory-minimum sentence by video conference, Colon apologized and said that, while he had once been in sex-offender therapy, he should have sought out treatment to deal with the abusive childhood he experienced.

However, Colon also said, “People have gone through much worse and they have not committed crimes. And my past is not an excuse for the choices I made.”

Law enforcement targeted Colon in a sting in which an undercover agent answered a Craigslist ad allegedly from Colon titled “Into perv/taboo chat, yng, fam (Chicago).” The agent posed as the father of two boys, 10 and 12. During their exchanges, records show Colon said, “We would meet first just you and me. Once you feel comfortable with me, we could do stuff with them. What’s ur ideal scenario? What would you like to see us do?”

Colon allegedly told the undercover agent he worked at the Hancock “observatory” and offered free rides on the Tilt. The feds say he later made a similar offer to another undercover agent posing as the father of a 10-year-old son, telling the agent about a private bathroom “if you would like some special private time.” He said he could meet alone with the agent first “to see if we get along and take it from there,” records show.

A spokeswoman for the building has previously said “multiple background checks were run on the employee in question, and no negative information was returned.” Colon was convicted in January 2015 of aggravated child pornography in state court, federal records show.

Law enforcement searched Colon’s Chicago home in April 2018, confronted him and also searched his phone, which appeared to have been recently wiped. After that, they said he moved to Oregon, where he got a job at Ronald McDonald House Charities. They said his potential job there would have entailed “being an on-call guest services attendant for families with sick and vulnerable children.” He was charged and taken into custody late in 2018.

In 2013 and 2017, the feds say Colon also “posed as an experienced babysitter with an early childhood development education and background, offering his babysitting services to the public.”

“It is impossible to overstate [Colon’s] predatory nature and the danger posed by his history and characteristics,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Malgorzata Tracz Kozaka wrote in a court memo this month. “[Colon] has shown an unwavering commitment to his intentions.”