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Press Release

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation Offenses Involving a Ten-Year-Old Victim

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

ERIE, Pa. - A former resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Ryan Matthew Holden, 36, pleaded guilty to seven counts before Senior United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Holden used Instagram to induce a ten-year-old female to provide him sexually explicit images and sent images of his penis to the minor victim. Holden also sent images of child sexual abuse material to the minor victim to encourage her to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Holden also received and possessed thousands of other items of child sexual abuse material.

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 (CEOS), 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

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for December 13, 2021. The law provides for a total sentence of life imprisonment, a fine of $1,750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Holden.

Updated August 23, 2021

Project Safe Childhood