Eight arrested in child pornography sting

A state-wide child pornography sting targeting men who allegedly downloaded or uploaded images of children being sexually exploited led to the arrests of eight men, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Three suspects are from southeastern Pennsylvania: Edgardo Hernandez, 22, of the 1900 block of Thayer Street, Philadelphia; Samuel Askinas, 25, the 2000 block of Prospect Avenue, Downingtown, Chester County; and Yorgardy Leonardo, 19, of the 2900 block of Gransback Street, Philadelphia.

The other suspects lived in western Pennsylvania: David Burke Sr., 60, Altoona, Blair County; Charles Weiher, 67, 3106 Albine Drive, Shaler, Allegheny County;

Edward Campion Jr., 41, Charleroi, Washington County; Justin Sells, 32, North Versailles, Allegheny County; and Dane Blood, 30, North Versailles, Allegheny County.

Police identified the men through their Internet protocol or IP address, the number assigned to hardware connected to the Internet. They were each allegedly involved in the distribution or sharing of child pornography, and search warrants executed at their homes recovered computer evidence.

The attorney general’s office provided details of the cases in a news release.

Askinas allegedly used tow online programs to search for “preteen hard core” child pornography, and his computer had more than 100 videos and 700 photographs of child pornography.

Askinas was charged with distribution of child pornography, criminal use of a communication device and 50 counts of possession of child pornography.

He was arrested last Wednesday and released after posting $75,000 cash bail.

Hernandez was arrested April and charged with criminal use of a communication facility and two counts each of possession and distribution of child pornography. He was released after posting 10 percent of $25,000 bail.

Leonardo was arrested April 1 on charges of distribution and criminal use of a facility and four counts of possession of child pornography. He was released after posting 10 percent of $25,000 bail.

Attorney General’s Child Predator Section operates a tip line at 1-800-385-1044 and also offers safety tips for surfing the web at http://www.attorneygeneral.gov. The attorney general’s Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or education@attorneygeneral.gov can provide organizations with guest speakers or educational materials.

— Tracy Jordan

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