Winchester Man Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges
Brian Patrick Aronhalt Admits to Enticing 19 Minors to Engage in Sexually Explicit Conduct
HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA – A Winchester man who has admitted to enticing 19 minors into engaged in sexually explicit conduct via web cams, pled guilty yesterday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg.
Brian Patrick Aronhalt, 32, of Winchester, Va., pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography, one count of enticing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct, four counts of producing child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography.
“Mr. Aronhalt admitted that he used deception to repeatedly abuse children,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “His case serves as a grim reminder for parents to monitor what their children are doing online. Those of us who work in law enforcement will continue to pursue and prosecute predators like Mr. Aronhalt. We won’t be successful, however, unless parents acknowledge the threat and take steps to help their children stay safe online.”
Aronhalt admitted yesterday to posing as a minor female online and enticing 19 minor boys to masturbate for him via webcam. The defendant learned from others online how to use a sexually explicit video of a female to appear as a live webcast to the minor boys. Using the pre-recorded video, Aronhalt enticed the boys to masturbate for him via webcam and recorded the sexually explicit conduct.
In addition, during the execution of a search warrant, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force found thousands of images depicting child pornography on Aronhalt’s computers.
At sentencing, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentenced of 15 years in Federal prison and a maximum possible penalty of life in prison. He also faces a potential lifetime of supervised release.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Healey will prosecute the case for the United States along with Trial Attorney Sarah Chang, U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). CEOS’s High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU) conducted computer forensic analysis for the case.