News and Press Releases

Man Pleads Guilty To Interstate Travel For The Purpose Of Engaging In Illicit Sex With A Minor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2012

ERIE, Pa. - A former resident of Illinois pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Ponmuthukumar Thangevelu, 35, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Thangevelu, an Indian national in the United States on a work visa, traveled to Corry, Pennsylvania, from Illinois for the purpose of meeting a 14 year old victim and engaging in illicit sexual conduct.  Thangevelu had initially met the victim on the Internet.  Upon arrival in Corry in December 2009, Thangevelu was taken into custody.  As part of his plea, Thangevelu agreed to forfeit his vehicle and an Apple Iphone to the United States.

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 McLaughlin scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.  The law provides for a total sentence of 30 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 Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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

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