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Press Release

Former Teacher’s Assistant Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

            LOS ANGELES – A West Los Angeles man who previously worked as a teacher’s assistant was sentenced today to 96 months in federal prison for distributing child pornography via a peer-to-peer file-sharing system on his computer. The images involved in this case depicted children under the age of 15, including child images deemed to be “sadistic” under the federal sentencing rules.

            Steven Petlak, 53, was sentenced by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald. Following the completion of his prison term, Petlak will be on supervised released for the rest of his life.

            Petlak pleaded guilty in July to one count of distribution of child pornography. In a plea agreement filed with the court, Petlak admitted that, on multiple dates, he used peer-to-peer software on his computer hard drive to share graphic images of child molestation.

            “Predators who seek out child pornography online threaten the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable in our real-world community,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This defendant’s conduct exemplifies a horrific and dark part of our society, and the sentence today reflects the harm caused by defendants who trade in these heinous materials.”

            In court filings, Petlak admitted that he made an effort to seek out the worst types of child pornography he could find – in Petlak’s words, “the really dark stuff.” While on pretrial release in this matter, Petlak was caught by law enforcement looking at what appeared to be graphic images of a juvenile female.

            Following his release from prison, Petlak will be required to register as a sex offender and to avoid places where children are present.

            This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Reema M. El-Amamy of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section.

Updated December 7, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-300