Cohoes Man Pleads Guilty to Producing and Distributing Child Pornography
George Muzio, Jr., Posed as Teenager and Persuaded Minors to Take Sexually Explicit Photographs
ALBANY, NEW YORK – George Muzio, Jr., 37, of Cohoes, New York, pled guilty today to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, six counts of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
As part of his guilty plea, Muzio admitted that between August 2014 and May 2016, he communicated with thirteen underage girls using his cellular phone and the Kik Messenger application. The minors lived throughout North America and ranged in age from 11 to 17 years old, with most being between 13 and 14 years old at the time the defendant engaged them in text-message exchanges via Kik. The communications, which Muzio frequently steered toward graphic sexual conversation, generally spanned thousands of messages sent and received over several months.
In pleading guilty Muzio admitted that he posed as a teenage boy and repeatedly requested and received sexually explicit photographs from the underage girls whom he targeted. As Muzio admitted, he texted detailed instructions to two victims about how he wanted them to pose in the sexually explicit photographs that they took and sent to him at his request. One of those victims, a resident of Montana with whom Muzio exchanged over 2,000 text messages over a period of 8 months, was 11 years old at the time. The second, a resident of Georgia with whom Muzio exchanged over 4,700 text messages over a period of 4 months, was 13 years old.
In addition, Muzio admitted that on six occasions between March 2015 and January 2016, he distributed child pornography videos from his Cohoes home through an Internet file-sharing program. He also admitted that on May 3, 2016, he possessed a laptop computer that contained approximately 400 child pornography videos depicting the sexual abuse of children as young as 10 years old.
Muzio, who has been in custody since March 2, 2018, is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6, 2018, at which time he faces a sentence of at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison on each of the two counts of sexual exploitation, and between 5 and 20 years on the distribution counts, and up to 20 years on the possession count. He also can be sentenced to at least 5 years and up to lifetime post-imprisonment supervised release, and a maximum $250,000 fine. He will also have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Colonie Police Department and the Cohoes Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph A. Giovannetti and Emmet O’Hanlon.
This case is prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.