PITTSBURGH – A western Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today for coercing and enticing a minor and possessing child pornography. The guilty plea is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Jeffrey W. Herschell, 54, of Washington, Pa., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David Stewart Cercone in the Western District of Pennsylvania. According to the statement of facts entered into the record by the government, and agreed to by the defendant, Herschell sent money to the Philippines in February 2010 for a live, online sex show that included a 12-year-old minor female engaging in sexual activity. Herschell also admitted to possessing child pornography videos at his Pennsylvania residence. Herschell was previously indicted Sept. 12, 2011.
At sentencing, Herschell faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison on the coercion and enticement charge, and a maximum of 10 years in prison on the child pornography possession charge. Herschell also faces a term of supervised release of five years to life following his prison sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 28, 2013. Judge Cercone deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until Herschell's sentencing hearing.
This case was investigated by HSI Philadelphia and HSI Manila, Philippines. HSI received significant assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation (Philippines) and the Philippine National Police.
This investigation is 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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.