DuBois Man Sentenced in Child Pornography Case

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CLEARFIELD – A DuBois man accused of sharing child pornography on his computer was recently sentenced during plea and sentencing court in Clearfield County.

James J. Gearhart, 42, 360 Cain Rd., DuBois, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of sexual abuse of children and one count each of criminal use of communication facility and possessing instruments of crime. He was sentenced to six months to one year in jail and two years consecutive probation.

He was fined $1,550 plus costs. He was also ordered to complete the Project Point of Light Program. After an assessment by the sex offender’s board, it was determined he is not a sexually violent predator.

Prior to sentencing, his attorney, Joseph Ryan, noted that since his arrest, Gearhart has undergone counseling. He stated that Gearhart had no prior record and asked President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to consider giving Gearhart a probation sentence.

Ryan said he’s not a harm to society, adding that he could be sentenced to 100 years of probation and not have another problem.

Gearhart addressed the court explaining he had been a victim of sexual abuse who never got help. He has been involved in counseling since 2011 and has found it very helpful in recognizing inappropriate behavior.

“I regret not getting help sooner,” he said. He apologized and assured Ammerman this would not happen again.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, while investigating online child pornography in January of 2011, an officer found a computer that was sharing files. He was able to browse through the available files where he found several photos described as child pornography, including one of a naked 12-year-old girl.

The computer was traced back to Comcast Cable who identified the Internet subscriber as Gearhart’s father.

On March 21, 2011, a search warrant was served on the residence and James Gearhart was questioned. He cooperated and admitted to police that he downloads and views child pornography. He stated that he has been doing this for several years and would delete the files after viewing them.

Two computers were taken from the residence. An examination of one of them revealed 15 images of child pornography in the temporary Internet file.

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