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Justice News

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Biglerville Man Pleads Guilty To Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Mason David Powell, age 28, of Biglerville, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on July 25, 2017, before Chief United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner to sexual exploitation of children, production of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and online coercion and enticement of minors.


According to U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, in 2015, Powell admitted to enticing minor boys to engage in graphic sexual text message exchanges with him, eventually escalating to coercing these victims to produce pornographic images of themselves and send them to him online. Powell was arrested by the Adams County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division on October 17, 2015, and law enforcement seized Powell’s cell phone at the time of his arrest. The FBI forensically examined Powell’s cell phone and discovered that Powell had downloaded and saved child pornography images on this device. Through further investigation, the FBI identified and interviewed multiple additional minor victims in the Biglerville community that Powell either coerced online, produced images of child pornography of or sexually assaulted.


This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith A. Taylor prosecuted the case.


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."


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment, and the charge of online coercion and enticement of minors requires a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence. The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Project Safe Childhood
Updated July 26, 2017