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Justice News

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Luzerne County Man Guilty Of Receiving Child Pornography

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that William Barratt, age 39, of Sugarloaf Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on October 28, 2019, to receiving child pornography before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Barratt admitted that he used his cell phone and computer to receive images and videos of child pornography from websites on the internet. Barratt committed the offense between April 2018 and March 5, 2019, in Luzerne County.

Judge Munley ordered a presentence investigation to be completed, and scheduled sentencing for January 29, 2020.

Barratt was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2019, as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting 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."

The maximum penalty under federal law for the offenses is 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. 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 October 29, 2019