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Western District of Pennsylvania | Registered Sex Offender Convicted of Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


PITTSBURGH – A federal jury convicted a Pittsburgh man today for possessing modified child sexual abuse material (CSAM) of child celebrities. United.States Attorney Eric G. Olshan for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall of the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office made the announcement.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on two separate occasions, James Smelko, 56, of Pittsburgh, possessed pictures that digitally superimposed the faces of child actors onto nude bodies and 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.

The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Mitchell and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Gwendelynn Bills of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) 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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