Erie Resident Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Laws Related to the Sexual Exploitation of Children
ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.
Darren Steven George Akers, 48, of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to receiving child sexual abuse material before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on or about March 9, 2023, Akers received and attempted to receive images depicting prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Akers also possessed and accessed with intent to view child sexual abuse material from in and around May 2022, to in and around March 2023.
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 www.justice.gov/psc.
Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2024 at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, 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.
Pending sentencing, the court continued Akers on bond.
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 Akers.