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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Admits Distributing Child Pornography

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Pittsburgh, PA pleaded guilty in federal court to distribution of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

James Clay Russell, 60, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on February 20, 2017, Russell distributed an image depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 12 years using the website, "". detected the distribution activity and reported it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, triggering an investigation of the Chatstep user. Russell was identified as the perpetrator and a search warrant was executed at his apartment, resulting in the seizure of computers and DVDs containing thousands of images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for February 5, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than five years and not more than 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. Russell remains incarcerated pending the sentencing hearing.

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

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Russell.

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

Updated October 9, 2018

Project Safe Childhood