Gettysburg Man Pleads Guilty To Producing Child Pornography
HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a Gettysburg man has pled guilty before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III in Harrisburg to a charge that he produced child pornography of children under 12 who were in his custody.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Steven L. Berwager, age 73, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania pled guilty before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III and admitted that he produced videos of minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct with Berwager. The minor children were in Berwager’s care and custody at the time the videos were produced.
Berwager was arrested on March 23, 2016 after a search of his home by state and federal law enforcement officers led to the recovery of thousands of images of child pornography stored on various electronic devices. Berwager agreed to forfeit all of the electronic devices seized during the search of his home that were used in producing, storing and transmitting child pornography. Berwager has been in custody ever since his arrest and was recently charged by state authorities on Adams County with sexual assault charges involving the same minor victims.
The case was investigated by the by the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Adams County District Attorney’s office. Prosecution of the case has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
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 www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc 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 maximum penalty under federal law is a mandatory 15 years term of imprisonment up to 30 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under federal law, 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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