Clifford man faces child porn charges

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

A 66-year-old Clifford man has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Stewart John Davis, of HC7, Box 7445, Clifford, faces two counts of sexual abuse of children and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Davis was arrested Friday, Nov. 12, following an investigation by the state police Computer Crime Unit and Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office.

He has been released on $10,000 unsecured bail on condition that he has no contact with minors.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Cpl. Derek F. Fozard of the Pennsylvania State Police, on April 6, Detective Justin Leri of the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office in Scranton was conducting an online undercover investigation into Internet sharing of child pornography.

Leri discovered that computer on a file-sharing network with 41 files connected to the subject. The detective determined that the user of that computer system was set up to allow browsing of his shared files.

The complaint says Leri was able to make a direct connection to the other computer, which allowed him to browse through the files. Leri said the names on 14 of the files were consistent with those used to label child pornography.

Police said those files were matched with some from prior investigations. Leri and Fozard said these files depicted children under age 18 engaged in prohibited sexual acts.

After obtaining a court order, Leri was able to trace the computer records, discovering they originated from Davis’ Internet account.

Using that information, on June 22, Fozard obtained a search warrant through the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office for Davis’ residence where they encountered Davis at home.

Police searched the home and seized numerous items, including a computer that Davis acknowledged he had downloaded child pornography. He told police that he would download files when his wife was not at home.

Software on the computer’s hard drive matched the type used in the file-sharing, Fozard noted.

Also, files were discovered on the computer, depicting juveniles participating in various explicit sexual acts.

Police said one child in the videos on the computer was identified as being as young as six.

Davis’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 23 in the office of Magisterial District Judge Suzanne Brainard in Clifford.

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