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Former Wilkes-Barre, PA. Football Coach Charged with Producing Child Pornography, Interstate Extortion and Cyber Stalking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2012

Former Holy Redeemer High School Football Coach Agrees to Plead Guilty to Criminal Information

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 28-year-old Wilkes-Barre resident was charged today in a Superseding Criminal Information with producing and attempting to produce child pornography and interstate extortion.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the Superseding Information alleges that Joseph J. Ostrowski, a former football coach at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, persuaded and enticed, and attempted to persuade and entice, minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and used the internet to extort and attempt to extort nude photographs, images and live transmissions of sexual conduct.

     Ostrowski was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton on May 15, 2012 and taken into custody. He was also indicted for cyber stalking by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Michigan. That case was transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania for prosecution. The cases are assigned to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik.

     According to the Government, Ostrowski’s production and attempted production of child pornography, interstate extortion activities and cyber stalking occurred during 2006 through May 2012, and involved victims in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, and Maryland. Some victims were adults; some were minors; they included students who participated in athletic programs.

     U.S. Attorney Smith said, “Sextortion, whether the victims are allegedly adults or minors, is an ugly and vicious crime. Schools, as well as parents and potential victims, need to be alert and responsive to signs of this insidious abuse of social media. For that reason we are providing information about this case to organizations that represent colleges and universities so they, in turn, can develop programs to inform and assist students who may be potential victims to identify, resist and report such conduct to law enforcement as soon as possible.”

     Ostrowski’s charges resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Scranton and Michigan.

     A plea agreement has been filed in the case. Under the terms of the agreement, Ostrowski has agreed to plead guilty to producing and attempting to produce child pornography, interstate extortion, and cyber stalking. The plea agreement calls for Ostrowski to be sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the U.S. District Court Judge.

     This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

     The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

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