CLEARFIELD – An Irvona man who was allegedly found possessing and transmitting child pornographic content waived all charges to court at his preliminary hearing during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
Aaron Michael Keith, 29, of Irvona has been charged with 10 counts of child pornography and one count each of dissemination photo/film of child sex acts and criminal use of a communications facility. Bail has been set at $50,000 monetary.
The charges stem from an investigation by agents with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section. Agents routinely conduct online investigations to identify those possessing and transmitting child pornography through file sharing networks.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Oct. 23 agents were conducting an investigation using a peer-to-peer file sharing network. During the investigation, agents allegedly located a computer that was sharing files of suspected child pornography.
On Oct. 23-24 agents were allegedly able to make a direct connection and successfully download one file. It was identified and determined to be made publicly available for download by a computer. It allegedly depicted a child engaged in sex acts with an adult male.
A public records check, which was located online by an organization known as the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), was conducted by agents. It determined that the computer’s IP address was assigned to a company known as Windstream Communications Inc.
On Oct. 28 an agent obtained an administrative subpoena from the senior deputy attorney general. It directed Windstream Communications to release subscriber and other pertinent information regarding the user associated with the IP address.
On Nov. 2 Windstream Communications responded to the subpoena. It was for the dates of Oct. 22 through Oct. 29 and showed the user was at an Irvona address. On Nov. 18 an intelligence analyst with the AG’s office determined Keith may reside at the Irvona address.
A query was also conducted with the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) portal to determine if any state Department of Transportation driver information was available for Keith or those residing at the Irvona address. PennDOT had current driver demographic information for a female and Keith at the Irvona address.
On Nov. 18 an agent conducted surveillance of the Irvona address. The agent obtained a photograph of the front of the residence. On the same date, the agent observed one vehicle that was parked next to the residence, and it was registered to a female residing at Keith’s residence.
On Dec. 9 agents and the state police at Clearfield executed a search warrant at the Irvona address. At the time of the search, Keith and a female were at the residence. Both were escorted outside and the residence was cleared without incident.
During the search, agents allegedly located a white computer tower in Keith’s bedroom. It contained three hard drives; the tower was in operation at the time of the search. While executing the search warrant, the computer was examined and allegedly determined to contain suspected child pornography.
At the scene, agents spoke to Keith, who was advised of the search warrant. Keith agreed to speak with agents and allegedly admitted that he knew why they were there. He told agents Windstream Communications was his internet services provider and there were two, working computers in the residence.
Keith allegedly admitted to downloading child pornography within the last week. He allegedly told agents that he “goes through phases” of downloading and viewing child pornography and has been since he was 15 years old. In addition to his main hard drive, Keith allegedly said he has a back-up hard drive and some child pornography may be saved on it.
Keith provided agents with the password to the hard drive. He allegedly admitted to preferring to downloading and viewing videos as opposed to image files and of children who are females between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. In a written statement, Keith allegedly related that the youngest age he believes he’s watched is approximately 5 years old.
Upon investigation forensic experts allegedly determined there were more than 100 video files in various formats with file names indicative of child pornographic content. Ten files were viewed and allegedly determined to be child pornography, according to the affidavit.