SCRANTON Pa. - A Bradford County resident was arrested on child pornography charges July 26 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents. Court records allege Christopher J. Stephani, 40, of Columbia Crossroads, Pa., used a computer to download and distribute images of child pornography between 2008 and March 4, 2010. Stephani was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 20, 2010, for receiving and distributing child pornography.
The charge against Stephani resulted from an investigation by the ICE led Inter-agency Child Exploitation Task Force (ICET), which includes the Pennsylvania State Police, and Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.
The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals through Operation Predator. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.