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Press Release

South Side Man Charged with Receiving, Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

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 on charges of distribution, receipt and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The three-count indictment, returned on March 6 and unsealed today, named Shawn O’Brien, 47, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, from May 17, 2016 to May 18, 2016, O’Brien knowingly distributed images in computer graphic files containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. The indictment also alleges that on May 17, 2016, O’Brien received images in computer graphic files containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. The indictment further alleges that on June 8, 2016, O’Brien 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.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 50 years imprisonment, a maximum term of lifetime supervised release, and a fine of $750,000. 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Allegheny County District Attorney Investigations Unit, the Allegheny County Police Department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office 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 March 13, 2018

Project Safe Childhood