Police search Castor home
A Sheffield man was charged with 100 counts of child pornography and a search warrant was conducted on his home Wednesday morning.
John R. Castor, 30, Sheffield, was charged with over 100 felony counts last month by Pennsylvania State Police.
Castor now faces 50 counts of second-degree felony child pornography and third-defree felony criminal use of a communications facility.
Online court records indicate that criminal information filed by the Warren County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday withdrew 50 counts of third-degree felony child pornography charges.
Castor entered a procedural not guilty plea before Hammond on those 51 charges on Thursday.
Under the Pennsylvania criminal code, child pornography falls under the section regarding sexual abuse of children. According to the code, intentionally viewing or possessing child pornography is a felony of the third degree. Second or subsequent offenses are felonies of the second degree, as is possessing or viewing child pornography depicting indecent contact with the child.
Each of the 50 second-degree felony charges comes with a 10 year incarceration and $25,000 maximum penalty and the criminal use charge brings a seven year and $15,000 maximum.
Pennsylvania State Police executed a search warrant last month. Two marked police vehicles were outside the 7 South Main Street address at 7 a.m., as was a white vehicle that was later identified as the Pennsylvania State Police Mobile Computer Crime Lab.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a CyberTipline Report was received by the PSP Computer Crime Lab in Meadville. That tip led police to “10 explicit child pornography photographs” that, according to a consulting physician, depicted children under the age of 12. An administrative warrant yielded information about the person whose account received the images.
Acting on that information, police executed a search warrant at 7 S. Main St., Sheffield, “to obtain all devices and media type storage devices…”
Among the items located was a cell phone, according to the affidavit. Castor, who was the only person at the address at the time the warrant was served, “identified the phone as his” and “provided the password.”
During a brief conversation with police, after his Miranda rights were given, Castor “made a statement to the effect, ‘You have my phone, you will find the stuff,'” police said.
The phone was taken to the mobile computer crime lab and examined. “Extracted from the phone were hundreds of child pornography still photographs and child pornography videos,” according to the affidavit. “The still photographs and videos were of prepubescent males and females engaged in prohibited sexual acts.” The affidavit describes one sexually explicit video involving a girl under the age of 13 and one sexually explicit photo involving a “young toddler.”
“Numerous other photographs and videos of the same nature were extracted, though a full extraction of the cell phone is to be completed at the PSP Meadville Computer Crime Lab,” according to the affidavit.
At a Warren County jury trial in July, Castor was found not guilty of all charges — involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with child; corruption of minors; and indecent assault — person less than 13 years of age.
Online court records indicate that, on Castor’s behalf, the Warren County Public Defender’s office filed a motion for modification of bail.
That motion is set for a hearing on October 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Castor remains behind bars on $200,000 bail.