Former Erie Teacher and Coach Pleads Guilty to child Exploitation Offenses
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, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
Gregory Samuel Mancini, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.
In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that on November 2, 2018, Mancini travelled to Georgia from Erie, Pennsylvania for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. Upon arriving in Georgia, Mancini traveled to meet with the minor and was subsequently taken into custody by the Hall County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office. When interviewed Mancini admitted that he had engaged in sexual talk with the minor victim and that he had crossed the line. Mancini also admitted that he was a criminal.
The investigation uncovered that Mancini had groomed the victim for months, discussing his intention to engage in sex acts with the minor. He told the victim to keep quiet about their contact and that he loved the victim who was thirteen years of age at the time. After Mancini told the victim that he was coming to visit him on November 2, 2018, the victim became upset and ultimately the Hall County Sheriff’s Office was contacted. They then assumed the victim’s identity online and Mancini began communicating with an undercover detective whom he thought was the victim. During his communication with the undercover detective, Mancini, thinking he was communicating with the minor victim, stated “i want u, I love u.” Shortly before his arrest, Mancini again thinking he was communicating with the minor victim, texted “I want to hug u … kiss u … love u.”
After Mancini’s arrest, federal authorities in Georgia transferred the case to Erie for further investigation. That inquiry ultimately uncovered that Mancini was using the dark web to obtain child sexual abuse material. The execution of a federal search warrant at Mancini’s residence in Erie County on January 9, 2020, resulted in the seizure of two computers and a thumb drive belonging to Mancini. A forensic examination of those items revealed hundreds of items of child sexual abuse material depicting children as young as two being raped and abused by adults. Also uncovered was a journal Mancini had written wherein he admitted that he was attracted to younger boys.
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 May 6, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of 70 years 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 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, Homeland Security Investigations and the Hall County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Mancini.