Pennsylvania Attorney General Corbett Announces the Arrest of Internet Predators in Pittsburgh, Altoona and Franklin County; 96 Arrests by Child Predator Unit
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested three men during the past week, including a benefits analyst from Pittsburgh, a college student from Altoona and a Franklin County man. All three men allegedly used Internet chat rooms and online message services to send sexually explicit photos or video to what they believed were young girls. Corbett identified the defendants as Joseph Forbes, 34, 453 Amherst Ave., Moon Township, Allegheny County; David Andrew Mascitelli, 23, 1509 Van Buren Ave., Altoona; and Daniel Diaz, 32, 3300 Waynecastle Road, Greencastle. Corbett explained that Forbes, Mascitelli and Diaz all allegedly used Internet chat rooms to contact and sexually proposition what they believed were young girls. The girls were actually undercover agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, using the online profiles of children. "It is important for parents and children to understand that predators are actively using Internet chat rooms to seek out young victims -- often sending nude photos or videos during their initial chats," Corbett said. "The Attorney General's Child Predator Unit was specifically created to identify and capture these predators before they can harm kids, and we are dedicated to carrying out that mission -- to date, the unit has arrested 96 predators from Pennsylvania and several other states." Joseph Forbes Corbett said that Forbes initially used an Internet chat room to contact an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit in November 2006. At that time, the agent was using the online profile of a 13-year old girl. According to the criminal complaint, Forbes immediately began questioning the girl about her clothing and shoes, and discussed dressing as a woman -- indicating that he had lost a bet to a friend. Corbett said that during their initial chat, Forbes asked for pictures of the girl and allegedly created a MySpace profile in order to view the agent's undercover profile and additional photos on MySpace. According to the criminal charges, Forbes continued to contact the undercover agent over the next several months -- offering to take her shopping for sexy lingerie and describing in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform. Forbes repeatedly commented that, "I love to please," but also asked the girl if she liked the idea of being tied up and forced to perform sex acts. Corbett said that during the course of the chats, Forbes allegedly sent the girl four sexually explicit and nude photographs. Forbes was arrested at his Pittsburgh office on Friday, September 21st, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit and Pittsburgh Police. Agents executed a search of Forbes' office and home, assisted by Pittsburgh Police and Moon Township Police, seizing two computers, along with a digital camera, electronic storage devices, lingerie that appeared to match items Forbes was wearing in photos he sent to the child, and sexual paraphernalia. Those items will be analyzed by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit as part of a continuing investigation. Forbes is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to disseminating sexually explicit materials), two counts of attempted obscene or sexual performances and two counts of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Forbes waived his preliminary hearing and is scheduled for formal arraignment on Dec. 21, 2007, in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. He was lodged in the Allegheny County Prison in lieu of $15,000 bail. Additionally, Forbes was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors, he cannot leave the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without court approval and he is prohibited from using the Internet. Forbes will be prosecuted in Allegheny County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II. Corbett thanked the Pittsburgh Police Department and Moon Township Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation. David Andrew Mascitelli Corbett said that Mascitelli used an Internet chat room to contact an undercover agent in May 2007, initially claiming to be a 16-year old boy. At the time, the agent was using the online profile of a 13-year old girl. According to the criminal complaint, Mascitelli almost immediately began a sexually explicit conversation with the girl, and expressed his desire to meet her for sex, commenting, "I want to get naked with you." Corbett said that Mascitelli repeatedly proposed meeting the girl for sex, at one point allegedly suggesting that she move to Altoona and live with him, posing as his sister. According to the criminal charges, Mascitelli used an Internet instant message program to send the girl a digital photo of an exposed penis, asking her, "think you can handle this?" Mascitelli 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. Mascitelli was arrested on Thursday, September 27th, in Altoona, shortly after he left his home for class at a nearby college. Agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by Altoona Police, executed a search of his home, seizing seven computers along with numerous digital storage devices. Those items will be analyzed by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit as part of a continuing investigation. Mascitelli was preliminarily arraigned on September 27th, before Altoona Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey P. Auker and lodged in the Blair County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail. He was also ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors and prohibited from using the Internet. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 3rd, at 9:00 a.m. Mascitelli will be prosecuted in Blair County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit. Corbett thanked the Altoona Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation. Daniel Diaz Corbett said that Diaz initially made contact with an undercover agent on August 1st, using an online chat room for teens. At that time, the agent was posing as a 13-year old girl. According to the criminal charges, Diaz quickly asked the girl to engage in a private online conversation and suggested sending her nude webcam images. Corbett said that later the same day, Diaz allegedly used an instant message service to once again contact the girl, expressing his desire to meet her for sex and telling her, "I wanna lick your body all over." Diaz also allegedly sent the girl a webcam video of himself engaging in sexual activity. Diaz 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. Diaz was arrested at his Greencastle home on Friday, September 28th, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police, and is scheduled to be preliminarily arraigned before Greencastle Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham. Diaz will be prosecuted in Franklin County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit. Corbett thanked the Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg, for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation. Child Predator Unit Corbett explained that the Child Predator Unit was created to identify and arrest Internet predators, as well as educating parents and children about the dangers of the Internet. Since January 2005, the unit has arrested 96 Internet predators. "The Internet is a wonderful tool for information and communication, but it has also become a popular stalking ground for predators searching for young victims -- either sexually propositioning children or sending explicit photos or videos," Corbett said. "It is essential that parents talk to their children about online hazards, and report any predator who sexually solicits children or who sends them sexually graphic material." Internet predators can be reported to the Child Predator Unit by calling 1-800-385-1044, or online at the Attorney General's website -- http://www.attorneygeneral.gov. Corbett also encouraged parents, teachers and other concerned adults to review information about Internet safety in the "Operation Safe Surf" section of the Attorney General's website. Additional internet safety information, created for children, is included in the "Just 4 Kids" sections of the website. (A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.) Editors Note: Photos of the defendants and copies of the criminal complaints are available by contacting the Attorney General's Press Office at 717-787-5211. CONTACT: Nils Hagen-Frederiksen Deputy Press Secretary 717-787-5211 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office
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