A Chartiers Township man whose computer was seized late last year by members of the Southwest Pennsylvania Computer Crimes Task Force was arrested Thursday on charges he distributed child pornography over the Internet.
Brandon M. Weiss, 32, of 599 W. Pike St., Meadow Lands, was arraigned before District Judge David Mark on charges of dissemination of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Charges were filed by North Strabane Township police Detective John Wybranowski, acting as a member of Southwest Pennsylvania Computer Crimes Task Force.
Members of the task force, along with state and local police, executed search warrants in late November at three homes in Washington County as part of an investigation into file sharing and possession of child pornography. Weiss’ computer was among those seized.
“This is part of a concentrated effort to identify people possessing and distributing child pornography over the Internet,” Wybranowski said.
Wybranowski, who is a certified forensic computer examiner, began an undercover investigation into the sharing of child pornography files in September and identified a computer that was being used to share such files. The detective was able to download video files from that computer system.
The video, which was six minutes, 30 seconds long, depicted a nude girl about 7 or 8 years old.
A court order was obtained directing Comcast Internet Services to release the subscriber information, and Weiss’ name was provided to Wybranowski. A search warrant was obtained for Weiss’ home.
Wybranowski said he interviewed Weiss at the house, and the Chartiers man admitted to downloading images and videos of nude children on his computer.
During a forensic examination of Weiss’ desktop computer, Wybranowski said he found more than 100 images depicting child pornography and also found files received during the undercover investigation.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children established an online tip line on which service providers and social media sites such as Facebook can log in and report suspected child pornography activities.
Weiss, who turned himself in Thursday morning, was released on $75,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 5 before Mark.