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Press Release

Scranton Man Sentenced To More Than 11 Years’ Imprisonment For Receiving And Distributing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Shawn Howells, age 48, of Scranton, was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment to be followed by 10 years on supervised release on May 20, 2021, by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani for receiving and distributing child pornography.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Howells previously pleaded guilty to using his laptop computer to access images and videos of child pornography and traded them with others on the internet. Howells committed the offense between November 2016 and January 2017.

Judge Mariani deferred for 90 days a determination as to the amount of restitution Howells owes to the victims depicted in the images and videos of child pornography that he received and distributed. Howells was also ordered to undergo sex offender treatment and to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted 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."

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Updated May 21, 2021

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