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Justice News

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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Former Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Football Coach Pleads Guilty To Producing Child Pornography, Interstate Extortion And Cyber Stalking

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Joseph J. Ostrowski, age 29, of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik to producing and attempting to produce child pornography, interstate extortion, and cyber stalking.

     The plea agreement calls for Ostrowski to be sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed after which a date for sentencing will be scheduled.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, a Superseding Information was filed in December 2012 charging that Ostrowski, a former football coach at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, persuaded and enticed, and attempted to persuade and entice, minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, including live transmissions via webcam, and used the internet to extort and attempt to extort additional nude photographs, images and live transmissions of sexual conduct from his victims.

     Ostrowski was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton in May 2012 and taken into custody. He was also indicted for cyber stalking by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Michigan. That case was transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania for prosecution.

     According to a summary of the Government’s evidence presented at today’s hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa, Ostrowski=s production and attempted production of child pornography, interstate extortion activities and cyber stalking occurred during 2006 through May 2012, and involved victims in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, and Maryland. Some victims were adults; some were minors; they included students who participated in athletic programs. Ostrowski admitted that he frequently posed as students, school alumni, and other persons and used Facebook, Skype, e-mail, instant messaging, and cellular text messaging to commit the crimes.

     Ostrowski's charges resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Scranton and Michigan and the Michigan State University Police.

     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 internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources." 

Updated April 9, 2015