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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 19, 2019

McKeesport Sex Offender Admits to Coercing a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity and Possessing Child Pornography

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of McKeesport, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Scott Joseph Payne, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of each of the above-described offenses before Senior United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer. In addition to the guilty plea, Payne accepted responsibility for two additional counts of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and three counts of production of images depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on June 10, 2017, Payne, while pretending to be a teenage female, engaged in an Internet conversation with a 12-year-old male using a chatting application known as "KIK", during which Payne persuaded the minor victim to produce and share still images and videos of the minor engaging in sex acts. The court was further informed that evidence established that Payne engaged in similar communications with a 15-year-old male in New Jersey and a 16-year-old male in Louisiana, and was in possession of sexually explicit photographs and videos of the three minor victims when law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at his residence on June 19, 2017. Payne has a 2012 conviction involving sexual abuse of children and possession of child pornography for which he was serving a term of probation at the time of his arrest and for which he was required to register as a Megan’s Law sex offender.

Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for February 20, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $500,000, 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. Payne remains under detention pending the resolution of the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Western Pennsylvania Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Bloomfield, New Jersey Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Payne.

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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 19, 2019