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May 19, 2020Philadelphia, PA, United StatesChild Exploitation

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to manufacturing child pornography

PHILADELPHIA — On May 19, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that a Hatboro, Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography. These charges arose from the defendant’s sexual abuse of an infant and his videotaping of that abuse, following an investigation by HSI Philadelphia, the Horsham Police Department, and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to protecting the children and youth of our communities who are most vulnerable to online predators,” said Brian A. Michael, special agent in charge for HSI Philadelphia. “When a criminal places a record of that abuse online or in other public forums, the abuse continues and can resurface throughout the victim’s life. HSI and our law enforcement partners are committed to finding, and bringing to justice, those who exploit children.”

Investigators found the video of the infant, which was created in 2010, while preparing for Zweitzig’s sentencing hearing in a separate child exploitation case filed by this Office. In that previous case, Zweitzig was charged in May 2019 with five counts of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Those charges arose from the defendant’s sexual exploitation of a different child over a period of years, his photographing and videotaping of his sexual abuse of that child, and his extensive collection of child pornography involving thousands of other children. Zweitzig pleaded guilty to all of those counts in October 2019.

“Sexual exploitation of a minor of any age, let alone an infant, is utterly reprehensible and will be met with swift justice,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Because of the excellent forensic work by our partners at Homeland Security Investigations, we uncovered this additional crime, ensuring that the defendant will now be held accountable for his actions. Working with all of our law enforcement partners, my Office will continue to identify and punish sexual predators to protect our children and our communities.”

On June 16, 2020, the defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on both cases by United States District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 200 years’ imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of 15 years, between five years and a lifetime of supervised release, a $1,750,000 fine, mandatory restitution, and a $700 special assessment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric L. Gibson.

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 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.

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.