News and Press Releases

Elk County Man Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2010

ERIE, Pa. ‑ A resident of Ridgway, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Robert John Yonker, 53, pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Yonker received and attempted to receive and possessed and attempted to possess computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Launched in February 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. 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.

Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing for March 8, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.  The law provides for a total sentence of thirty years in prison, a fine of $500,000, 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.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Yonker on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Yonker.

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