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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 45 Years for Years-Long Sexual Abuse of Eight-Year-Old Victim, Including Manufacturing Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Herbert Smith, 33, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 45 years in prison and lifetime supervised release by United States District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno for his extended sexual abuse of a child who was just eight years old when Smith began molesting her. Smith must also register as a convicted child sex offender under state law.

In June 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to seven counts of manufacturing child pornography. The charges stemmed from an investigation which exposed the defendant’s sexual abuse of this child victim when Philadelphia Police served an arrest warrant for Smith for his sexual assault of a different nine-year-old victim. When police arrested the defendant, officers discovered him lying in bed with the eight-year-old victim. Police seized Smith’s electronic equipment, and the subsequent forensic analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed hundreds of images of Smith’s horrific sexual assaults against the eight-year-old child over a period of more than two years, including rape and other sexual abuse of the child after she was given medication to make her sleep. Smith recorded his abuse of the child victim, saved the images and videos on his electronic equipment, and in some cases, uploaded the images to his online storage account.

Smith was taken into custody by Philadelphia Police in August 2019. He has been detained in federal custody since he was indicted federally in September 2019.

“Smith is a predator of young children and has been for years,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “This sentence sends a strong message that victimization of our most vulnerable will be severely punished. Thank you to all of our agency partners who remain determined to identify, prosecute and convict child predators like this defendant.”

“Herbert Smith admitted to unimaginably abhorrent behavior,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He sexually assaulted multiple children and perpetuated that trauma by recording and reliving it. The harm he has done is vast and this sentence is richly deserved. Locking up depraved predators like Smith is one of the most important things that the FBI and our partners can do to help protect kids, the most vulnerable members of our community.”  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rotella.


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Updated November 17, 2022

Project Safe Childhood