Friday, January 4, 2008

Phillip Helfand - Put Camera in Victim's Stuffed Animal

A Park Ridge man faces up to 22 years in prison after admitting he molested and took pornographic pictures of a 9-year-old Lake Zurich girl.

Phillip Helfand, 55, admitted abusing the girl in November 1999, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Ari Fisz said.

Fisz said Helfand, of 2224 Parkside Drive, was arrested by Park Ridge police in May 2006 when his mother's live-in caretaker discovered a camera had been placed in one of her stuffed animals.

Police discovered dozens of images of child pornography in Helfand's computer, including one of the Lake Zurich girl.

Fisz said Lake Zurich police discovered Helfand had worked as a baby sitter for the girl and had molested her and taken the pictures in the girl's home.

Helfand pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in Cook County circuit court in August and was sentenced to four years in prison.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse during a hearing before Circuit Judge Fred Foreman.

Under the terms of his plea negotiation, Helfand will have to serve the minimum four-year sentence for the child pornography and three-year sentence for the sex abuse charge consecutively.

The maximum sentence Foreman can impose at a hearing set for Feb. 20 is 22 years.

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