Former Erie Resident Charged with Violating Federal Laws Regaarding the Sexual Exploitation of Children
ERIE, Pa. - A former resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of violating federal laws relating to the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
The four-count indictment named Mark Joseph Bretz, 27, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment presented to the court, Bretz received computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and used interstate communications to extort several victims into providing Bretz sexually explicit or suggestive 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, 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.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 26 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, 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.
Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Erie County Detectives Bureau conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.