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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Clearfield County Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Child Pornography

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A resident of Houtzdale, Pa. pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Ellis D. Passmore, Jr., 46, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

In connection to the guilty plea, the court was advised that on Oct. 5, 2015, Passmore knowingly possessed pictures and videos in individual computer graphic files, which were produced using prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The computer graphic files were shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Judge Gibson scheduled sentencing for August 21, 2018 at 10 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, 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 Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pennsylvania State Police, Clearfield Barracks, conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Passmore.

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 better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 27, 2018