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Press Release

Erie Man Pleads Guilty To Child Exploitation And Firearm Offenses

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 firearms laws and laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Douglas E. Melter, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Melter attempted to induce a woman to procure a minor for Melter to sexually abuse and photograph naked. Melter also possessed computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and possessed a firearm after having been convicted of multiple felonies.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date. The law provides for a total sentence of life in prison, a fine of$750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the 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, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Erie Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Melter.

Launched in February 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated July 14, 2015