Allegheny County Man Arrested in Internet Child Porn Sting

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have arrested a Plum, Allegheny County, man accused of using an Internet chat room to sexually proposition what he believed was a 13-year old girl, as well as to send explicit nude videos of himself to the girl.

Corbett said the “girl” was actually an undercover agent from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, which was created in January 2005 to identify and apprehend Internet predators before they can harm children. This is the 63rd arrest since the creation of the Child Predator Unit.

Corbett identified the defendant as John A. Spanos, 41.

Corbett said that according to the criminal charges, Spanos, using the screen name “greekharley,” used a Yahoo Internet chat room to contact an undercover agent who was using the online identity of a 13-year old girl.

The criminal charges state that within the first 10 minutes of their first Internet chat, Spanos began questioning the girl about her sexual experience  and “can u (you) handle a man?”

Corbett said that during the initial online conversation with the girl, Spanos proposed that they meet and proceeded to describe in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform. Additionally, Spanos allegedly requested nude photographs of the girl, adding that “I’d love to take some of you.”

According to the criminal charges, Spanos also asked the child if he could call her and requested her home telephone number, repeatedly telling the girl to “trust me. you are safe. this is our secret.”

Corbett said that following the initial online chat, Spanos allegedly called the telephone number provided by the undercover agent and engaged in a phone conversation with an agent from the Child Predator Unit. During that call, Spanos repeated his desire to meet the child in order to carry out the sex acts he had described earlier and also arranged another online chat later that evening.

The criminal charges state that during the second online chat, Spanos instructed the child to engage in sexual activity and sent the child a live web-cam video of himself masturbating.

Corbett said that during a series of online chats that followed, Spanos allegedly repeated his desire to meet and have sex with the girl. Spanos also allegedly pressured the girl to provide her home address, talk to him on the phone and send him nude photographs.

Corbett said that at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday, Spanos was arrested at his home by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Spanos is charged with one count of criminal attempted unlawful contact with a minor (obscene performances) and one count of criminal use of a computer. Both are third-degree felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Spanos was preliminarily arraigned before Plum Magisterial District Judge Linda Zucco and lodged in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. He was ordered to undergo a behavioral evaluation and prohibited from having contact with minors or using a computer. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10  at 9 a.m., before Magisterial District Judge Zucco.

Spanos will be prosecuted in Allegheny County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Forray, of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.

Corbett explained that the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit was created in January 2005 to identify and capture Internet predators before they can harm children.

“I urge parents and kids to learn more about protecting themselves from online predators by visiting the newly designed ‘Just 4 Kids’ section of the Attorney General’s Web site at www.attorneygeneral.gov,” Corbett said. “If anyone has information about child predators they can contact the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit at 1-800-385-1044 or use our website to file an online complaint.”

Corbett added that parents, teachers and other concerned adults can visit the “Operation Safe Surf” section of the Attorney General’s web site for educational materials about online safety and to schedule a “Safe Surf” presentation for their school or community organization.

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