News and Press Releases

New Castle Man Pleads Guilty To Violating Child Exploitation Laws

March 8, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, March 8, 2010, that Michael Penwell, a resident of New Castle, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal child exploitation laws.

Penwell, age 41, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller advised the court that between January 2008 and October 16, 2008, Penwell produced, transported, and possessed visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for July 8, 2010 at 11:30 a.m.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least 15 years and up to 60 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the New Castle Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Penwell.

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