Erie Resident Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Laws Related to the Sexual Exploitation of Children
PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 300 months’ imprisonment followed by a lifetime term of supervised release for conspiracy to receive and distribute, as well as distribution and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.
United States District Court Judge William S. Stickman imposed the sentence on Robert Pacek, age 52.
According to information presented to the court, Pacek, while on probation for a prior state conviction for possession of child sexual abuse material, was an active participant in a chat room on the Tor network dedicated to the discussion and exchange of child sexual abuse material. On February 28, 2021, Pacek distributed five images depicting the sexual exploitation of young girls, who appeared to be between the ages of 4 and 6 years old, in that chat room. Pacek later admitted to accessing the Tor network using his neighbor’s router and sharing links to this material. A subsequent search of Pacek’s cell phone revealed approximately 100 videos and 3,000 images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, including more than 100 images depicting the abuse of toddlers or infants.
Prior to imposing the sentence, Judge Stickman explained that there is no more important government interest than “the protection of the innocence, safety and integrity of our children.” Judge Stickman noted that Pacek played more than a “passive role” in distributing images, noting that Pacek made “callous” comments when posting these images, and regularly greeted new members to the chat room. Judge Stickman emphasized that the use of computers contributes to the widespread distribution of this material and that these offenses involve real minors. Referring to the content of the images Pacek possessed, Judge Stickman noted that there is “no crime more serious in our district than the violation of the innocence of toddlers.”
Assistant United States Attorney Karen Gal-Or prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
United States Attorney Olshan commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Pacek.
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.