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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Former Wilkes-Barre, PA. Football Coach Sentenced To 25 Years For Producing Child Pornography, Interstate Extortion And Cyber Stalking

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that the former football coach of Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre was sentenced today to serve 25 years in prison by Senior United States District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik for producing and attempting to produce child pornography, interstate extortion, and cyber stalking.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the defendant Joseph J. Ostrowski, previously pleaded guilty to persuading and enticing, and attempting 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 using 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 later 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. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania subsequently filed a superseding Information against Ostrowski.

     According to a summary of the Government’s evidence presented at the guilty plea 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.

     At the sentencing hearing today, the Government noted that Ostrowski victimized or attempted to victimize more than 60 people, used deception to compromise the Facebook and other online identities of people, and in some instances took advantage of the trust that athletes placed in him. Ostrowski was described by the Government as “the very definition of an online predator.”

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

     Judge Kosik also ordered that Ostrowski be placed on supervised release for life following his prison sentence, pay a $1500 fine, and a $300 special assessment.

    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