Penn Hills man indicted on 8 counts of child exploitation, porn

April 5, 2018

A federal grand jury has accused a Penn Hills man of producing and distributing pornography depicting children younger than 12, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady announced Tuesday.

John O’Donnell, 50, has been charged with the attempted production, distribution and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.

The grand jury issued its indictment last week, and officials arrested O’Donnell on Friday, according to Brady.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered that O’Donnell continue to be detained pending trial, Brady said.

Between February and April 2015, O’Donnell allegedly coerced a child to engage in sexual activity and recorded it “for the purpose of producing or attempting to produce a visual depiction of the sexual exploitation of the minor,” according to the eight-count indictment.

In October of last year, O’Donnell “knowingly distributed” videos and images of sexually explicit content involving children, some of whom were younger than 12, the indictment said.

He allegedly also possessed similar files depicting child porn in late December.

If convicted, O’Donnell faces up to 210 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or both, federal prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting the case with help from the FBI, state Attorney General’s Office, Allegheny County police and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said they advanced the case with resources made available through Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative started in 2006 aimed at curbing child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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