‘Obtain all devices’

Sheffield man charged with 100 counts of child porn

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry John R. Castor, of Sheffield, is escorted out of Warren County Courtroom B following a preliminary arraignment Wednesday in which he was informed he faced 101 felony counts related to child pornography.

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, of Sheffield, was arraigned Wednesday morning before District Justice Todd Woodin.

Woodin explained to Castor that he faced 50 second-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of children, 50 third-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of children, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility — also a second-degree felony.

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.

Pennsylvania State Police executed the search warrant after 6 a.m. Wednesday. 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.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Pennsylvania State Police execute a search warrant Wednesday morning at 7 S. Main St., Sheffield, the home of John R. Castor.

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.

Woodin told Castor the maximum penalty for each count, if convicted, is 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for the second-degree felonies, and seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine for the third-degree felonies — an aggregate maximum of 850 years in prison and over $63 million in fines.

Castor was taken to Warren County jail after failing to post $200,000 bail. Woodin told Castor he based the cash bail amount on the “seriousness of the charges and your prior record.”

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.