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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Friday, November 16, 2018

40 Year Sentence Imposed By Federal Judge In Child Exploitation Case

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today the Honorable Christopher C. Conner sentenced Mason David Powell, age 30, a resident of Biglerville, Pennsylvania to 40 years in federal prison following a three hour sentencing hearing. 

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, officers from the Cumberland Township Police Department initially arrested Powell in Biglerville, PA on October 17, 2015.  This arrest followed a concerned parent’s report to the local police that Powell was inappropriately chatting with her minor son.  With consent from this parent to assume the minor’s online identity, law enforcement set up a meeting with Powell, who continued to believe he chatted with a minor.  Powell arrived at the arranged location to meet the 13 year-old he had been chatting with online and brought two other minors with him. Officers greeted Powell and took him into custody at that time.  The Adams County District Attorney’s Office charged Powell with child exploitation offenses relating to a number of minors. 

During the investigation, the FBI and the local authorities located online messages Powell exchanged with several minors soliciting naked images of their genitals or attempting to coerce the minors to meet with Powell to engage in sex acts.  Powell confessed to soliciting at least 20 minors in this manner.  Law enforcement also discovered over 1,000 images of commercially downloaded child pornography of minors as young as infants on Powell’s phone. 

On October 28, 2016, Powell pleaded guilty to all counts of the federal indictment and admitted to both producing and possessing images of child pornography that were found on Powell’s phone and in the online chats.  In addition, Powell also pleaded guilty to attempting to coerce a minor victim to engage in sexual activity with him.

Before the Court imposed the 40 year sentence, the defense offered testimony from defense expert Dr. Frank Dattilio, a psychologist. Dr. Dattilio opined Powell is predatory, manipulative and on the high end of moderate risk to reoffend without treatment based on Powell’s abuse of numerous minors in the local Adams County community and his collection of pornographic images of prepubescent children from the internet. 

Chief Judge Conner rejected the defense’s request to impose only the mandatory minimum of 15 years, stating Powell is “clearly a sexual predator” and a “serious danger to the community” and imposed a 40 year sentence, to be followed by lifetime supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Adams County District Attorney’s Office and the Cumberland Township Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Meredith A. Taylor.

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 tab "resources."

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Project Safe Childhood
Updated November 16, 2018