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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison For Distributing Child Pornography

Man Falsely Claimed Images Were of His Daughter

            WASHINGTON – Brian Hess, of Hustontown, Pa., has been sentenced to five years in prison for distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), announced.


            Hess pled guilty in April 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced on Sept. 6, 2017, by the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson. Upon completion of his prison term, Hess will be placed on 10 years of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years following his release from prison.


            According to the government’s evidence, from Sept. 28, 2016 through Oct. 4, 2016, Hess communicated online with a man he believed was a child sex offender with an under-aged daughter. Hess communicated with the man over the course of several days and distributed to the man numerous images of child pornography, claiming that some of the images he sent were images of his own under-aged daughter. Unbeknownst to Hess, the man he was communicating with was an undercover detective working as part of a task force.


            Law enforcement subsequently confirmed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that the child Hess purported to be his daughter in the images was actually another victim of child exploitation who had previously been identified by the center as part of another, unrelated case. At the time of his arrest in November 2016, Hess also was found to be in possession of hundreds of additional images of child pornography. Hess has been in custody since he entered his guilty plea in the case.


            This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD’s Youth Investigations Division. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Michelle Wicker. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea L. Hertzfeld, who prosecuted the case.


Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 8, 2017