Man admits making child pornography

A Tamaqua man has pleaded guilty to a federal production of child pornography charge that carries at least 15 years in prison.

John Levernier, 30, agreed in September to plead guilty to the charge, and on Nov. 19 appeared before Judge A. Richard Caputo in Scranton, who accepted the plea and set sentencing for Feb. 21.

Caputo can sentence Levernier to as much as 30 years in prison, fine him up to $250,000 and place him on supervised release for life after serving his jail time.

Martin C. Carlson, acting United States attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said in a news release that Levernier admitted taking sexually explicit photographs of a girl, now 7, at least three times this year and last year.

State Trooper Eric Temarantz started the investigation this year after the victim’s mother photographed items she planned to sell on the Internet auction site eBay, uploaded them to a computer and saw images of her daughter in lingerie, naked and using an adult sex toy, according to the affidavit.

The mother contacted the county Children and Youth Services department, and police eventually joined the investigation after the girl said Levernier repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Carbon County District Attorney Joseph Matika referred the part of the case that dealt with child pornography to federal prosecutors, and Levernier was indicted by a grand jury in July on charges of sexual exploitation of minors, receiving child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Matika referred that part of the case because federal sentencing guidelines are tougher.

Levernier still faces sexual assault charges in Carbon County. He has reached an agreement to plead guilty to aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children. He was supposed to enter the plea Nov. 15, but his court appearance was postponed because he’s being held in Lackawanna County Prison on the federal charge.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 6:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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