News and Press Releases

Luzerne County Man Charged with Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography

September 5, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 21-year-old Hazleton man was charged with using a computer to receive and distribute child pornography.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, an Information was filed Tuesday alleging that Rafael Polonia used a computer to obtain and traffic child pornography in January 2012.

     The United States also filed a plea agreement in the case which notes that Polonia has agreed to plead guilty and will be sentenced to between eight and eleven years in prison and be on supervised release for life if the agreement is accepted by the court.

     The charge against Polonia resulted from an investigation by Homeland Security Investigators and the Pennsylvania State Police.

     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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

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

An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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