Erie Resident Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Laws Related to the Sexual Exploitation of Children
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Monessen, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Jack Brian LaForte, age 55, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that the investigation into LaForte began when Homeland Security Investigations received information about an upload of a child pornographic material from an IP address that resolved to LaForte’s Monessen residence. On or about June 14, 2019, law enforcement seized various electronics during the execution of a search warrant at the residence, including a laptop computer. A forensic review the laptop revealed videos depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, including of prepubescent minors who had not attained 12 years of age. The videos discovered by law enforcement included depictions of the lewd and lascivious display of the minors’ genitals; the penetration of minors by adults; and minors engaging in oral sex with adults.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for March 17, 2019. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 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.
Pending sentencing, the court continued defendant on bond.
Assistant United States Attorney Heidi M. Grogan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of LaForte.
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.