Johnstown Man Charged With Possession Of Child Pornography
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, May 19, 2010, that on May 12, 2010, Michael J. Fitzpatrick, a resident of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Johnstown on a charge of possessing child pornography.
The one-count indictment, unsealed today, named Fitzpatrick, age 52, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment presented to the court, on December 8, 2009, Fitzpatrick knowingly possessed pictures and videos in individual computer graphic files which were produced using minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The computer graphic files were shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Assistant United States Attorney John J. Valkovci, Jr., 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 offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in February 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (Laurel Highlands Resident Agency) and the Pennsylvania State Police (Computer Crime Unit/Area III) 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.