News and Press Releases

Former Med Student Sentenced To Prison For Possessing Child Pornography

May 31, 2012

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Pittsburgh was sentenced in federal court for violating federal child sexual exploitation laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Lee Sonis, 29, was sentenced by United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry to serve 18 months in prison followed by eight years of supervised release for possessing and accessing with intent to view visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sonis used a particular internet application to specifically search for files depicting female children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sonis was a medical student when he committed the crime.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the successful investigation leading to the conviction and sentence in this case.

This case is a product of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in February 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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