S. Franklin man arrested in online child porn case

March 27, 2014
Richard Mollenkopf

A second Washington County man was charged in as many weeks in an online child pornography investigation conducted by agents with the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Thursday announced the arrest of Richard Mollenkopf, 40, of 300 Annuity Drive in South Franklin Township, as part of ongoing efforts to target the online sharing, downloading and distribution of child pornography.

Mollenkopf was charged following a two-month investigation with 12 counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of distributing child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was placed in Washington County jail on $100,000 bond set by District Judge Ethan Ward.

Agents were led to Mollenkopf when they discovered his computer’s Internet Protocol address in a “peer-to-peer network sharing several media files believed to depict child pornography,” Kane stated in a news release.

Agents and state police, armed with a warrant to search his residence, seized two laptops, a computer tower and other media storage devices.

The investigations revealed what agents believed were several hundred video and image files given names indicating they contained child pornography, Kane said. The devices seized will be further analyzed by the attorney general’s forensics unit as the investigation continues.

Agents on March 21 arrested Christopher Welshans, 36, of 53 Fourth St., Atlasburg, on charges of distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communications facility. The online investigation allegedly linked his computer to similar files.

He was jailed on $200,000 bond set by District Judge Robert Redlinger.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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