News and Press Releases

Ellwood City Man Charged With Possession Of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, April 28, 2010, that Tommy J. Atkinson of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on child pornography charges.

The one‑count indictment, returned on April 13, 2010, and unsealed on April 26, 2010, named Atkinson, age 64, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, on or about March 5, 2009, Atkinson knowingly possessed visual depictions, namely, images and videos contained in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Assistant United States Attorney Amy L. Johnston, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

The Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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