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Testimony to proceed at trial in child porn case

Testimony about a prior conviction and investigative steps in Erie County will move ahead against a man charged in Warren County with the possession of child pornography.

Mason T. Swanson, of Corry, faces 21 felony counts in Warren County and was in court Thursday for oral arguments on several motions.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Swanson was found to be in possession of alleged child pornography at 2094 Reed Road, Columbus Township, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, by agents of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Division.

Deputy Attorney General Angela Raver told the court Thursday that the investigation started in Erie County but is a Warren County case because Swanson was located just over the county line.

She said the initial IP address uncovered in the investigation was tied to an Erie County location and said she wants to be able to present that at trial to show a “continuing course of conduct that led to two locations” in a way that follows the “natural development” of the investigation.

Raver said Swanson has not yet been charged in Erie County and that a decision whether charges would be brought has not yet been made.

She also asked the court to be able to include testimony at trial of Swanson’s 2014 conviction for indecent assault against a 13-year-old girl which, she suggested, shows a “strong sexual attraction or interest in young girls” and shows an “intent of why (Swanson was) seeking out child pornography.

Swanson’s attorney, Chief Public Defender Kord Kinney, said including those items at trial would be “more prejudicial than probative” and that including the prior conviction “essentially sinks any defense we may have.”

Hammond sided with the Commonwealth and permitted the items to be presented at trial in limited ways.

Agents said the investigation began in July.

The investigation began in July before agents first went to Swanson’s listed address on Center Street in Corry finding alleged child pornography on two devices determined to have been Swanson’s.

Agents found Swanson at the Columbus Township address and found him to be in possession of two electronic storage devices, one of which was later determined to contain “numerous digital files of apparent child pornography,” according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Swanson told investigators “he has tried to delete all of the child pornography he had saved on his devices because he is no longer interested in it.”

According to the affidavit, Swanson told investigators “when he gets out of prison, he would like to leave the country and move somewhere where it was legal to (have sex with) little girls.”

Online court records show that Swanson’s next court date is Monday for calendar call at 9 a.m.

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