Turtle Creek Man Charged with Child Pornography Offenses
PITTSBURGH – An Allegheny County resident 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 David J. Hickton announced today.
The three-count indictment, returned yesterday, named Robert Bernal, Jr., age 26, of Turtle Creek, Pa. as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, on Dec. 3, 2015, Bernal, Jr. distributed an image containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, the production of which involved the use of a minor, who had not yet attained 12 years of age, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment further alleges that from Feb. 5, 2015 to March 25, 2015, Bernal, Jr. knowingly received visual depictions, namely, videos in computer graphics, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment further alleges that on April 13, 2016, Bernal Jr. knowingly possessed and knowingly accessed with intent to view 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 in prison, a fine of $750,000, a mandatory assessment of $10,300, a term of supervised release of life, or any or all of the above. 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, Allegheny County Police Department and the Allegheny County District Attorney’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 www.justice.gov/psc.