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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Clearfield County Man Sentenced to Prison for Possession of Child Pornography

JOHNSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA - A resident of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to a term of imprisonment of four years and six months, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, on his conviction of possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson imposed the sentence yesterday in Johnstown on Ellis D. Passmore, Jr., 46, of Mahaffey, Pennsylvania.

According to information presented to the court, the Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the FBI received a lead from the FBI’s Innocent Images Operations Unit regarding an individual in Washington State who produced images of at least three different children as she sexually molested them. The woman transmitted the images over the Internet to individuals whom she met online. Ellis D. Passmore, Jr.’s email address was identified as an address to where the images had been sent.

On October 5, 2015, FBI conducted a knock-and-talk at the Passmore’s residence. He admitted to viewing child pornography images on his computer. Agents obtained a search warrant for Passmore’s electronic devices and a forensic review revealed 1,182 videos depicting the sexual exploitation of prepubescent children, some of which depicted bondage.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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

Assistant United States Attorneys Shanicka L. Kennedy and Jessica Lieber Smolar prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Passmore, Jr. 

Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 2, 2019