HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have arrested a Berks County man accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition what he believed was a 14-year old girl, as well as sending sexually explicit photos to the girl.
Additionally, Corbett said agents have filed new criminal charges against a Washington County man initially arrested by the Child Predator Unit in April 2006, after arranging to have sex with what he believed was a 13-year old girl. That defendant is now charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year old girl.
Corbett identified the defendants as Jason A. Sparks, 33, Birdsboro, Berks County, and Brian Stephen Gostic, 27, Canonsburg, Washington County.
Corbett explained that the Child Predator Unit was created to conduct proactive undercover investigations in order to identify and capture Internet predators. Since its creation in January 2005, the unit has apprehended 90 predators from Pennsylvania and several other states.
Jason A. Sparks
Corbett said that Sparks allegedly used an Internet instant message service to contact an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit on May 30, 2007. At that time, the agent was using the online profile of a 14-year old girl.
According to the criminal complaint, Sparks initially asked the girl for her age, sex and location, and then began questioning her about her sexual experiences, asking, “do you like older guys,” “are you a virgin,” and, “have you ever had sex?”
Corbett said that Sparks then allegedly asked the girl if she had ever seen photos of male genitalia, and proceeded to send two nude male photos to the undercover agent.
Sparks was arrested on Friday, September 7, by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, with the assistance of officers from the Upper Moreland Police Department (Montgomery County).
Corbett said that agents from the Child Predator Unit, assisted by Berks County detectives and Robeson Township Police (Berks County), executed a search of Sparks’ home, seizing two computers. Those items will be analyzed by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit as part of a continuing investigation.
Sparks is charged with one count of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, both third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Sparks was preliminarily arraigned before Birdsboro Magisterial District Judge David E. Glass and lodged in the Berks County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 18th, at 1:30 p.m., before Magisterial District Judge Glass.
Sparks will be prosecuted in Berks County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.
Corbett thanked the Upper Moreland Police Department, Robeson Township Police Department and Berks County detectives for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
Brian S. Gostic
Corbett said that Gostic is charged with multiple counts of statutory sexual assault, along with the corruption of minors, for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a young girl.
Corbett said the illegal activity was discovered during a follow-up investigation conducted after Gostic was arrested by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit in May 2006. At that time, Gostic was accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition an undercover agent who was posing as a 13-year old girl, and arranging to meet the “girl” for sex.
According to the criminal charges, Gostic engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14-year old girl that began in January 2005, and continued through August 2005. At that time, Gostic was 24-years old.
Corbett said that Gostic allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the child several times. The incidents allegedly occurred at Gostic’s home, at the victim’s home, and during trips to hotels in Niagara Falls, Canada and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
As the result of evidence developed by agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit and Computer Forensics Unit, criminal charges were filed against Gostic on Aug. 31, 2007.
Gostic surrendered to agents from the Child Predator Unit and Canonsburg Police on August 31, and was preliminarily arraigned before Washington County Magisterial District Judge Jay H. Dutton. On Monday, Sept. 10, 2007, Gostic waived his preliminary hearing and was released on $25,000 unsecured bail awaiting a formal arraignment in Washington County Court of Common Pleas.
Gostic will be prosecuted in Washington County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II, of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit.
Corbett noted that on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007, Gostic entered a guilty plea in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to charges related to his 2006 arrest by the Child Predator Unit, including criminal attempted unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a computer. Sentencing for those charges is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2007, in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
Corbett thanked the Canonsburg Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.