Springdale Man Admits Possessing Child Pornography Images And Videos
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Allegheny County, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Nicholas Birkner, 33, currently living in Springdale, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on April 1, 2011, Birkner possessed visual depictions, namely, images and videos in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for Feb. 24, 2012, at 11:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The FBI Pittsburgh's High Tech Crimes Task Force (PHTCTF) conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Birkner.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.