Pennsylvania men arrested following child pornography investigation

pennsylvania child porn arrests
(Clockwise, from top left): Richard Simpson, Brandon Batz, Thomas Stewart and Ryan Thornton were arrested on charges related to a child pornography investigation, led by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – Four Pennsylvania men were arrested on child pornography charges during an investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Child Predator Section, bringing the total of suspected child predators apprehended by the agency this year to 136.

The latest arrests were made following separate investigations in Allegheny and Berks counties, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

Those arrested include:

  • Richard Roy Simpson, 46, of Pittsburgh
  • Brandon Michael Batz, 30, of Bernville
  • Ryan Lee Thornton, 34, of Pittsburgh
  • Thomas James Stewart, 25, of Pittsburgh

The men were all arrested during undercover investigations into the online distribution of child pornography. Investigators tracked the IP addresses associated with pornographic videos and on file sharing sites, which allegedly led to the four men’s homes.

Simpson was charged with three counts of distribution of child pornography, 20 counts of possession of child pornography and one count each of criminal use of a communication facility, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Investigators said Simpson was found with pornographic video files featuring children, as well as a marijuana grow operation.

He is being held in Allegheny County Jail after failing to post a $50,000 bond, and a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Batz was charged with one count of distribution of child pornography, 21 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was released from the Berks County Prison after posting a $10,000 bail and is awaiting a preliminary hearing on Nov. 18.

Thornton was charged with 15 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was released from the Allegheny County Jail after posting a $50,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Stewart was charged with eight counts of possession of child pornography and one count each of distribution of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility. He was released on his own recognizance, and a hearing is scheduled on Nov. 4.

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