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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Pitcairn Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Exploitation Charge

PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of production and attempted production of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Rebecca Owens, age 24, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Robert J. Colville.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on or about May 17, 2019 to on or about May 18, 2019, aided and abetted by another person known as "M.K.," Owens induced a female child victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct for Owens to send to M.K. during a sexual online chat.

"Our mandate is to use every resource to protect our children from sexual exploitation at the hands of pedophiles," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "No matter what dark shadows these predators hide in, law enforcement will shine a light on them and hold them accountable for their conduct. Our prosecutors and law enforcement partners will not rest until every victim of child sexual exploitation is rescued and defendants like Owens are behind bars."

Judge Colville scheduled sentencing for February 24, 2020, at 10 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 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 Heidi M. Grogan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Pennsylvania State Police, as part of the Northeast Computer Crimes Task Force, and the Allegheny County Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of the Western Pennsylvania Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Owens.

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

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated October 14, 2020