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Justice News

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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Production of Child Pornography

Baltimore, Maryland – On May 5, 2017, U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Michael John Bickel, age 26, of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania to 35 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for production of child pornography.


The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.


Bickel is currently incarcerated in the Pennsylvania State Department of Corrections institution SCI Dallas in Dallas, Pennsylvania. According to his plea agreement, between September 24, 2013 through January 1, 2015, in the District of Maryland, Bickel, sexually abused and produced images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.


In March 2015, after being arrest by law enforcement authorities in Washington County, Pennsylvania, Bickel disclosed that in addition to at least three local children he had sexually abused in Pennsylvania, he also sexually abused two minors during visits he made to Howard County, Maryland.


Bickel was prosecuted by authorities in Washington County, Pennsylvania, for child sex offenses he committed in that jurisdiction with children other than the two victims in Howard County, Maryland. He is currently serving a state sentence in Pennsylvania of between 59 and 118 years, for which he is expected to serve a minimum term of 59 years.


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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 8, 2017