Penn Hills Man Admits Producing, Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to production, distribution and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced last week.

John O’Donnell, 50, formerly of Verona, PA pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that O’Donnell distributed material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor on Facebook. When authorities searched his home, he was found to be in possession of over 200 images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of minors. During the investigation into his illegal activities, authorities also learned that, through the use of a hidden camera, O’Donnell secretly videotaped a 12-year-old girl in his bathroom.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for January 9, 2019. The law provides for a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum total sentence of 60 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court ordered O’Donnell remain detained.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney’s General Office, the Allegheny County Police Department and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit