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Press Release

Tioga County Man Sentenced to 109 Months for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK –Mahkya Searles, age 23, of Tioga County, New York, was sentenced yesterday to 109 months in prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release, for his receipt and possession of child pornography.  The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In pleading guilty, Searles admitted that, from April 2018 through March 10, 2019, he searched for and downloaded child pornography from the Internet, and that on March 20, 2019 he possessed more than 30 images of child pornography on his phone, some of which involved prepubescent minors.  

In imposing sentence, Senior United States District Judge Thomas McAvoy found that Searles had a prior pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a 5-year old child.  Upon release from imprisonment, Searles must also register as a sex offender.  

This case was investigated by the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department, Athens Police Department, and the FBI, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Grabowski, as a part of Project Safe Childhood. 

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ 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

Updated November 28, 2019

Project Safe Childhood