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Office of Public Affairs | Registered Sex Offender Convicted of Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


A federal jury in Pittsburgh convicted a Pennsylvania man today for possessing modified child sexual abuse material (CSAM) of child celebrities.  

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on two separate occasions, James Smelko, 56, of Pittsburgh, possessed pictures that depicted the faces of child actors and were digitally modified to depict nude bodies or bodies engaged in sex acts. Smelko possessed the pictures at his home in Pittsburgh, and law enforcement discovered the pictures during a search of Smelko’s computer. Smelko was then charged for possessing CSAM. While pending trial, Smelko was found to have violated his conditions of release by again possessing such images, after concerning searches and images were detected by court-mandated monitoring software on his cell phone.

The jury convicted Smelko of two counts of possessing child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Special Agent in Charge Mike Norwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell for the Western District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.



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