The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 38-year-old Luzerne County resident was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the defendant, Michael Shaw, allegedly downloaded and traded child pornography during 2012 until June 5, 2013.
The charge against Shaw resulted from an investigation by special agents and task force officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police, detectives from the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, and local 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."
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this case, the mandatory minimum sentence is five years imprisonment. The maximum penalty under the federal statute is 20 years’ 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.