Lehigh Valley

Police: Slate Belt man had child porn, hidden videos of young girl

Authorities said more charges are pending

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Authorities in Northampton County allege they found scores of child pornography on a Slate Belt man’s computer and hard drives, including videos he secretly recorded of an underage girl showering.

Derek J. Caponigro, of Giribaldi Avenue in Roseto, face a host of charges that include invasion of privacy, corruption of minors and child pornography following an investigation by the Bethlehem Police Department. District Judge Roy Manwaring arraigned the 43-year-old Thursday, setting bail at $150,000.

Caponigro’s arrest was the first under the department’s new Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, which will be part of a state task force. Bethlehem police said that its investigation is continuing and that other charges are pending.

Detectives began an investigation on May 13 working to identify people who use peer-to-peer file-sharing software to distribute child pornography, according to court records. Investigators immediately began detecting files known through previous investigations as child pornography. Detectives recorded IP addresses downloading known child pornography on May 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 26.

Investigators secured a court order last month that directed RCN to provide the subscriber name for an IP address allegedly used to download child pornography. The name RCN provided was linked to the Roseto address, and an internet search by investigators revealed a photo of the woman and Caponigro. Police said comments about the photo indicated they were a couple, but authorities did not specify the nature of their relationship.

Investigators executed a search warrant on the Roseto apartment on May 31 and seized external hard drives, a USB drive, CDs, DVDs and an Apple desktop computer. Caponigro wasn’t home when police searched the apartment, but detectives interviewed him later.

He allegedly admitted that the computer equipment seized belonged to him and that it included child pornography and hidden camera footage of a minor. The victim worked with authorities to identify footage that was taken while she was as young as 9 years old  and one video taken after she turned 18, according to court records.

Authorities charged Caponigro with two felony counts each of indecent assault of a person younger than 13, corruption of minors and child endangerment and single felony counts of disseminating images of child sex acts and child pornography. He also faces 10 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy.

Caponigro failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a June 29 preliminary hearing.


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