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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Charged with Possessing and Distributing Sexual Images of Children

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on charges of Distribution, and Possession of Material Depicting the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

The three-count indictment, returned on August 29, named James Clay Russell, 59, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, on February 20, 2017 and March 23, 2017, Russell knowingly distributed an image containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. The indictment further alleges that on June 9, 2017, Russell possessed images and videos in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age.

Russell was detained pending trial.

The law provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each count of distribution of child pornography, a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for possession of child pornography, a maximum term of supervised release of life, and a fine of $750,000.00. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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 September 8, 2017

Project Safe Childhood