Pennsylvanian Gets 12 Years In Filipino Child Porn Case

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – A former security guard and insurance broker, who owned a convenience store, was sentenced Tuesday (May 28) to 12 years in prison by Judge David Stewart Cercone of the United States District Court in Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburg for coercing and enticing a minor Filipino child and for possessing child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Leiber Smolar told this reporter over the phone that Jeffrey W. Herschell, 54, would also be placed under lifetime supervised release, would have to register as a sex offender and would have to pay $200 special assessment.

There is no parole for Herschell, a native of Washington, Pennsylvania, nor payment for fine or restitution. Out on bail but with electronic monitoring device, Herschell was ordered to report to federal prisons on or before Aug. 30 this year.

Herschell’s defense lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Jay J. Finkelstein, could not be reached for comment.

According to court documents, Herschell, who is suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that gives him a hard time to breath, and other health conditions like sleep apnea and high blood pressure and artificial hip, had agreed to 144 months (12 years) in prison in a plea agreement he signed a week before the sentencing.

During his arraignment on Jan. 24, 2012, Herschell pleaded not guilty in open court.

He was initially charged with Count 1 for possession of material, depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor on or about March 14, 2011 that could have landed him a 10-year sentence. But if he had prior conviction of aggravated sexual abuse (rape), sexual abuse involving a minor or production minor or production, possession, receipt mailing, sale distribution shipment or transportation of a child pornograph, he would have gotten longer jail time — not less than 10 year and not more than 20 years, fine of $250,000 and supervised release from five years to life.

INDICTED WITH 2 MORE COUNTS

He was also indicted with Count 2 for production of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor in or around Feb. 2010. This could have been punishable with imprisonment of not less than 15 years nor more than 30 years.

Herschell was also indicted with Count 3 for receipt of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor on or around Feb. 2010. This is punishable of from five to 20 years in prison.

Herschell’s home was searched in March 2011 after a man in the Philippines was arrested on charges he recruited and paid poor minor girls to perform sex acts in front of a webcam at an Internet café in the Philippines. He also admitted to possessing child pornography videos in his residence.

There were 31 videos, depicting girls seven or 11 years olds, found embedded in Herschell’s computer and other media storage that were later confiscated from Herschell.

Herschell had acknowledged paying to view live sex acts of minor in the Philippines by paying to PayPal, which allows money transfer thru Internet, in February 2010. It included a 12-year-old minor female engaged in sexual activity.

At the sentencing Tuesday, Herschell, although he had an opportunity to do so, did not make any statement nor apologize before the judge. He was accompanied by two men and his lawyer, Attorney Finkelstein, during his sentencing.

The case was supervised by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David J. Hickton; and Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Philadelphia.

Atty. Smolar was assisted by Trial Attorney Bonnie L. Kane of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).  This case was investigated by ICE-HSI Pittsburgh and the ICE-HSI Attache’s Office in the Philippines with significant assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation (Philippines) and the Philippine National Police.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources were to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. More information about Project Safe Childhood can be accessed by visiting www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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