News and Press Releases

Washington County Man Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison For Possessing Child Porn Videos

March 10, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Washington County, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to four years in prison, followed by 15 years supervised release, on his conviction of possession of videos depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Richard E. Shonts, 26.

According to information presented to the court, Shonts, on June 2, 2009, unlawfully possessed, in computer graphics files, in excess of 20 videos depicting child pornography.  A number of the videos portrayed prepubescent children and sadistic and masochistic conduct. Shonts, following the imposition of sentence, was immediately remanded to the U.S. Marshals for service of his sentence.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Pennsylvania State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Shonts.

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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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