Guilty Of Receiving And Distributing Child Pornography

Lackawanna County Man Guilty Of Receiving And Distributing Child Pornography

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Michael J. Costello, age 42, of Archbald, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to receiving and distributing child pornography.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Costello admitted to using a computer to obtain and trade images of child pornography during January through August 2014. Costello’s computer contained more than 1,100 images and more than 300 videos of child pornography.


The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis P. Sempa and Evan J. Gotlob are prosecuting the 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, 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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The charge also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.