Former Lehighton, Bethlehem resident pleads guilty to child porn charges

Published: Oct 30 2013 01:31:47 PM EDT

A former resident of Lehighton and Bethlehem has pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving and distributing child pornography.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, 32-year-old Stephen Puza III, formerly of Lehighton, admitted to using a computer to download and share numerous images of child pornography during July 2011 through September 2013. Puza was living in Bethlehem at the time of his arrest.

Puza was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 10, as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Lehighton Borough Police.

Puza faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Puza remains in custody pending his sentencing.

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 Internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”