News and Press Releases

Ordained Minister Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Receiving Pornographic Videos of Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2014

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to five years imprisonment, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, on his conviction of receipt of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Charles Appel, 72, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to information presented to the court during the earlier guilty plea proceeding, Appel, an ordained minister and retired St. Edmund’s Academy teacher, received by United States mail, on Feb. 21, 2011, a video which depicted the sexual exploitation of minor boys from a Canadian video production company known as “Azov”, which previously operated a website offering DVD’s and streaming videos depicting children being sexually exploited. Appel ordered and received the video, titled “Boy Fights XIX: Triple Threat (2009)”, in both electronic and DVD format for $29.95 on Feb. 21, 2011, which he paid for with a credit card. During the period May 15, 2009 through March 13, 2011, Appel ordered child pornography videos from Azov on 29 occasions for a total cost of $1,864.54.

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

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the United States Postal Inspection Service and members of the Pittsburgh Crimes Against Children Task Force, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Appel.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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