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Press Release

Pittsburgh Man Sentenced to 8½ Years in Prison for Distributing Child Pornography

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

PITTSBURGH, PA A former resident of Pittsburgh, PA, has been sentenced in federal court to 8 1/2 years’ (102 months’) imprisonment, followed by 10 years’ supervised release on his conviction of distribution of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today. Russell was also sentenced to pay $8,600 in restitution, in varying amounts, to 13 child victims.

Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on James Clay Russell, 61.

According to information presented to the court at the time Russell entered a guilty plea, Russell distributed, on February 20, 2017, 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.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch prosecuted 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 successful 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 June 20, 2019

Project Safe Childhood