Penn Hills man pleads guilty to making child porn, sharing via Facebook

September 25, 2018

A Penn Hills man pleaded guilty to producing and distributing child pornography -- including secretly recording a 12-year-old girl while she used the bathroom and sharing some of the material via Facebook, prosecutors said Thursday.

John O’Donnell, 50, was convicted of three counts of producing and distributing material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, U.S. Scott W. Brady said.

O’Donnell -- who will remain in custody until his sentencing -- faces 15 to 60 years in prison, a fine up to $1 million or both.

After finding out O’Donnell had shared child pornography using Facebook, authorities searched his home on Shannon Road and found more than 200 images and videos depicting child pornography and exploitation, prosecutors said.

Authorities said they further learned that O’Donnell used a hidden camera to record video of a 12-year-old girl using the bathroom.

Brady credited the collaborative work of local, state and national officials in bringing the case forward as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative formed in 2006 to find and charge people who sexually exploit children and rescue and assist victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanicka L. Kennedy prosecuted the case. The investigation involved the FBI, Allegheny County Police and the offices of the Allegheny County District Attorney and Pennsylvania Attorney General.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab scheduled O’Donnell’s sentencing for Jan. 9.

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