News and Press Releases

Hazleton Man Pleads Guilty to Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography

September 18, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 21-year-old Luzerne County resident pleaded guilty on September 17 in Scranton before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to receiving and distributing child pornography.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Rafael Polonia, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, admitted that he used a computer to download and share child pornography videos in January 2012.

     Polonia was charged in an Information filed by the United States Attorney in September 2012. The charge stemmed from an investigation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Luzerne County and the Lackawanna County District Attorneys Offices.

     The plea agreement filed in the case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office includes a proposed sentenced of least 96 months in prison and up to 132 months in prison, to be followed by a life term of supervised release. The agreement must be accepted by Judge Mariani before it becomes final.

     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.


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