You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Verona Man Charged with Multiple Counts of Violating Child Exploitation Laws

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on charges of attempted production, production, distribution and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The eight-count indictment, returned on March 21, named John O’Donnell, age 50, of Verona, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant. O’Donnell was arrested on Friday and today was ordered to be detained pending trial.

According to the indictment, on or about February 28, 2015, March 4, 2015, March 9, 2015, March 24, 2015, April 3, 2015 and April 14, 2015, O’Donnell employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing or attempting to produce a visual depiction of the sexual exploitation of the minor. The indictment also alleges that on or about October 25, 2017, O’Donnell knowingly distributed videos and images 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 indictment further alleges that on or about December 20, 2017, O’Donnell knowingly possessed videos and images 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 minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum total sentence of 210 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both. 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 Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney’s General Office, the 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 (CEOS), 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated March 27, 2018