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A Youngstown sex offender was charged Wednesday by federal agents for sending pictures of himself engaged in sex acts with his 6-year-old daughter to an undercover FBI agent.
Christopher Cavna, 26, of Mahoning Ave., is facing 30 years in federal prison on charges of sexually exploiting children. He pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance in U.S. Northern District Court in Youngstown and his case was bound over to a federal grand jury that will ultimately decide what charges are pursued.
Mahoning County prosecutors said Thursday they are conferring with federal counterparts to see if they can pursue rape and other sex charges against Cavna based on the FBI’s evidence.
Cavna is currently being held at the Northeast Ohio Correction Center on Hubbard Road without bond. Cavna, according to a search of court records, was convicted in Cuyahoga County of several counts of downloading child pornography in 2010.
Court records say he currently lives with his wife, two daughters, ages 6 and 18 months, and his 8-year-old son.
Cavna, according to the FBI agents, admitted to agents that he used his daughter’s hands for his sexual gratification for about one year and that he photographed at least one of those incidents with his cell phone.
An FBI affidavit for Cavna’s arrest says their Child Exploitation-Human Trafficking Task Force based in Washington D.C. started the undercover investigation on an unidentified internet forum. Agents exchanged text messages, emails and photo messages with Cavna, the affidavit said.
Those three images, according to the affidavit, include one of Cavna engaged in a sex act with his 6-year-old daughter, one of a close up picture of the girl’s genitals and one of her wearing a tee-shirt and underwear. Cavna, according to the affidavit, denied the girl depicted was his daughter.
On Monday, the affidavit says, Cavna sent an instant message to the agent with a picture of his daughter holding up a piece of paper that read “hi john,” the affidavit says.
Forensic analysts found other pictures investigators believe are of Cavna’s daughter taken inside the family’s home. In one instance, the girl was photographed naked in a sexualized position in the family’s basement shower.
Cuyahoga County court records show Cavna, who lived in Shaker Heights at the time, was indicted on 10 counts of downloading child pornography between July 1, 2010 and Sept. 23, 2010 at his Shaker Heights apartment and at a location in Lakewood in which the child was engaged in sexual activity, masturbation or bestiality, according to court filings.
He eventually pleaded guilty Feb. 10, 2011 to three counts of having child pornography, including one second-degree felony that carries an 8-year maximum sentence. He also pleaded guilty to two fourth-degree felony child porn counts and a fifth-degree felony charge of possessing criminal tools. Cavna was forced to forfeit his computer as part of the sentence.
Cavna was sentenced by disgraced former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Steven Terry, who is serving a five-year, three-month federal prison sentence for taking bribes, lying under oath and fixing a court case.
Terry sentenced Cavna to three years probation. He also ordered Cavna to 50 hours of community service and to be classified as a Tier II sex offender, meaning Cavna was ordered to register with his resident county sheriff’s office every 180 days for 25 years.
He alerted Cuyahoga County officials April 24 that he moved to Mahoning County and would register with sheriff’s office here.