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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to the Binghamton Area Intending to Engage in Sexual Conduct with Two Children

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – James Obelkevich, age 51, of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, pled guilty today to traveling to New York from Pennsylvania for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with two children. The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

As part of his guilty plea, Obelkevich admitted that from the summer of 2019 until the spring of 2020 he exchanged multiple sexually explicit messages via an online social networking application with an undercover officer posing as the mother of 9-year-old and 13-year-old girls.  In these messages, Obelkevich expressed a desire to engage in sexually explicit conduct with both children.  Obelkevich further admitted that on March 11, 2020, he traveled from Pennsylvania to New York in order to meet with the children and engage in sexual conduct with them at a location in the Binghamton area.  Obelkevich was arrested after arriving at the location and has been in custody since that date.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 8, 2021, in Binghamton, before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. Obelkevich faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. 

A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.  Upon his release from prison Obelkevich will be required to register as a sex offender in any state where he resides, is employed, or is a student.

This case was investigated by the FBI Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force, comprised of FBI Special Agents and Investigators of the New York State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian S. LaRochelle as a part of Project Safe Childhood.

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorney’s offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated August 4, 2021