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Child Exploitation

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Secret Service.

Joseph L. Bryer, 53, of Grove City, pleaded guilty to the charge before U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

According to court documents, on Aug. 23, 2011, Bryer possessed photographs and videos in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The videos and still images were downloaded and shared using peer-to-peer software installed on Bryer's computer. The videos included those depicting prepubescent females engaging in sex acts with adults.

Bryer is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 9 and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Pending sentencing the court permitted Bryer to remain on bond.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.