It's a major child pornography bust in Montgomery County. Six men from multiple states are accused of preying on minors to exchange nude pictures and videos. Some of the men even allegedly lured the underage boys into sexual activity.
The arrests were announced Friday morning by the Montgomery County District Attorney. All six suspects were arrested back in December and January, and four of them have also been charged federally. Investigators say all of the men were connected by one victim.
Prosecutors say Matthew Krapf, Christopher Steele, Paul Britton, Mark Wilczopolski, Glenn Kriczky and Jason Becktold all used online chatrooms to exchange nude pictures and videos with teenage boys. Krapf, Steele and Britton even lured the boys into sex acts.
"Unfortunately, we still have adults out there who are willing to prey on vulnerable kids and teens and take advantage of their willingness," shared Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
The investigation started back in October of 2013 after the parents of a 14-year-old Limerick boy contacted police.
"When his parents discovered the inappropriate communications on his computer they came forward to the Limerick Township Police Department because they were concerned about what was going on," explained Zane Memeger, United States Attorney.
Officials say the investigation led them to all six suspects as well as six other victims. According to authorities, most of the alleged crimes took place during the summer and early fall of 2013. And there are some shocking allegations.
Court documents say an undercover officer posing as a boy allowed them to arrest 43-year-old Matthew Krapf. According to the paperwork the Collegeville man manufactured and disseminated pornographic images and videos. Officers found more than 500,000 porn files on various electronic devices. He admitted to police he victimized numerous underage boys.
Investigators say 42-year-old Jason Becktold enticed the victim to record himself engaged in sexual activity with other minors and then send the videos over the internet.
"Additionally Becktold encouraged the minor victim who came forward to place and use a hidden camera within a school locker room to record other minor boys in various states of dress and undress," added Memeger.
Officials have not said which local school was involved, but tell us anyone seen in the video has been identified and notified.
Court papers say 33-year-old Christopher Steele drove from Delaware and had unprotected sex with the victim, but didn't tell the teen he was HIV positive.
"Each year millions of children fall prey to sexual predators and these victims are left with permanent psychological and emotional scars," said Special Agent William Walker with Homeland Security Investigations.
Investigators tell us 45-year-old Paul Britton killed himself while waiting to be extradited from Delaware. The five other suspects all face multiple charges and most of them are behind bars.
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- Berks Tim Lind / 69 News