News and Press Releases

22-year-old Hazleton Man Sentenced to 124 Months in Prison for Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography

December 20, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 22-year-old Luzerne County resident was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to serve more than 10 years in federal prison for receiving and distributing child pornography.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Rafael Polonia, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 124 months in prison. Polonia previously pleaded guilty to using 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 Homeland Security Investigators, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Luzerne County District Attorneys Office and the Lackawanna County District Attorneys Office.

     Judge Mariani also ordered that Polonia serve a lifetime on supervised release following his prison sentence, and pay a $500 fine and a $100 special assessment.

     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 and click on the tab "resources."

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


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