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Press Release

Former Franklin Resident Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge of Receiving and Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. - On March 19, 2024, a former resident of Franklin, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of receipt and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of children, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

Aaron Ray McClelland, 29, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.

In connection with the guilty plea, the Court was advised that, in and around October 2020 and July 2021, McClelland received images depicting prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The Court was also advised that the parties agreed as part of the plea agreement that the appropriate sentence in this case is a seven-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for July 22, 2024. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not less than five years and up to 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 offense 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, Pennsylvania State Police and Indiana County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of McClelland.

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

Updated March 20, 2024

Project Safe Childhood