PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
James W. Vertullo, 51, of Pittsburgh, was indicted by a federal grand jury June 6, 2012 and arrested by HSI special agents June 13, 2012. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge in December 2012.
According to the HSI investigation, Vertullo distributed and received images depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, and images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Vertullo admitted to downloading, uploading, viewing and trading child pornography.
"Every time child predators like Vertullo view and share despicable images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the children are revictimized," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "While we cannot give these children back their innocence, today's sentence serves as a stark warning to others like Vertullo: HSI and our partners will be relentless in our pursuit of those who prey on our children."
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.