SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Shasta County man was formally indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on a criminal charge stemming from a far-reaching international child pornography probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that resulted in numerous arrests worldwide.
Jason B. Scarcello, 42, of Anderson, Calif., is accused of receiving child pornography. According to the indictment, between April and June, Scarcello used a file-sharing program to download multiple movies depicting the sexual exploitation of children. Scarcello was arrested July 25 after HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence and discovered CDs and DVDs containing sexually explicit images and videos of children.
According to the search warrant affidavit, suspicions about Scarcello first arose after investigators determined he had engaged in computer chats with Michael Arnett, a previously charged suspect in Kansas. From August 2010 through March 2012, Scarcello and Arnett allegedly discussed in computer chats the abuse of child victims.
The charges are part of an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston. In 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts and HSI Boston arrested and convicted Robert Diduca on child pornography production charges. Forensic analysis of Diduca's computer led investigators to the Netherlands, where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual assault of 87 minors. Since that time, a global network of offenders has been identified, including this defendant. To date, more than 140 children have been rescued and 43 perpetrators arrested worldwide as a result.
Scarcello was arraigned Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan and plead not guilty. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 21 before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. If convicted, Scarcello faces a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris.