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Press Release

Ben Avon Heights Man Charged With Receiving, Possessing Sexual Images Of Minors

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

PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh resident has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of receipt and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The three-count indictment named Charles Appel, 71, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, Appel, on Feb. 21, 2011, received by United States mail a video which depicted the sexual exploitation of a minor. He is further charged with possessing, on Oct. 11 and 12, 2012, images and videos on DVD’s and in computer graphics files which depicted the sexual exploitation of minors.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

Updated July 14, 2015