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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Federal Jury Finds Washington County Man Guilty on Charges of Child Sexual Exploitation

PITTSBURGH – On June 15, 2016, after deliberating for approximately two hours, a federal grand jury of eight men and four women found Christopher Welshans guilty of Distribution and Possession of Material Depicting the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Christopher Welshans, age 39, of Atlasburg, PA, was tried before United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose in Pittsburgh, PA.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Lieber Smolar and Shanicka L. Kennedy, who prosecuted the case, on or about February 11, 2014, Christopher Welshans distributed videos and images containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors. In addition, on or about March 21, 2014, Christopher Welshans knowingly possessed videos and images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age.

United States District Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for October 24, 2016 at 10 am. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 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.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Christopher Welshans.

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

Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 16, 2016