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Press Release

West Hazleton Man Guilty Of Receiving 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 today that Michael Portanova, age 27, of West Hazleton, pleaded guilty on October 17, 2018, to receiving child pornography before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Portanova admitted that he used his cell phone to receive images and videos of child pornography using a file-sharing network on the internet. Portanova committed the offense between August 2017 and October 30, 2017, in Luzerne County.

Portanova also admitted that he committed the offense after having been convicted of dissemination and possession of child pornography in Luzerne County in 2014.

Judge Munley ordered a presentence investigation to be completed, and scheduled sentencing for January 17, 2019.

Portanova was indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2018, as a result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations 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 these offenses is 40 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 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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Updated October 18, 2018

Project Safe Childhood