Local Man Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Pornography
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A southwestern Pennsylvania man 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.
Thomas Stetz, 55, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on April 9, 2011, Stetz possessed visual depictions, namely, images in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for Aug. 3, 2012, at 9:30 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 Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Stetz.
This case was 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.