A Cranberry Man pleaded guilty in federal court today on a charge of possessing material that depicts sexual exploitation of a minor, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said.
The court was told that on Dec. 4, 2010, Mark E. Wellman, 23, of Kimberwicke Court, had hundreds of videos and still images in computer graphics files that showed minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Many of the videos and images depicted prepubescent children in violent, sexual acts.
Wellman will be sentenced at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3 before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti. He could receive a total of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch will prosecute the case on behalf of the government. The Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to Wellman’s prosecution.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse that was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute those who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue the victims.