Scranton, Pa

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Sex Crimes Against Children

Posted: March 28, 2024

On March 7, 2024, 18-year-old Tyler Pearsall of Moscow, Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with two felony counts of sexual abuse of children – child pornography and one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility. The charges followed a months-long investigation into Pearsall after the Pennsylvania State Police  Bureau of Criminal Investigation Northeast Computer Crime Task Force received information from the North Carolina Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Task Force indicating that Pearsall was in possession of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The ICAC Task Force is a nationwide network of law enforcement and prosecutors dedicated to protecting children from online dangers. According to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s website, the ICAC “tracks down predators who use the internet to exploit children, and helps prosecutors when those cases go to court.”

The tip from ICAC led PSP to execute a forensic examination of Pearsall’s electronic devices. The search confirmed that he was in possession of CSAM, and Pearsall was arrested and remanded to Wayne County Prison. Pearsall’s preliminary arraignment was held on March 7, 2024, and the judge set Pearsall’s bail at $35,000. A professional bondsman posted bail and the case was transferred to the Court of Common Pleas in Wayne County.

To find someone guilty of sexual abuse of children – child pornography, the government must show that the person intentionally viewed or knowingly possessed or controlled a book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant knew the child’s age. Here, because the ICAC Task Force’s investigation determined that Pearsall possessed CSAM on his electronic devices, the elements of sexual abuse of children – child pornography  were met.

Pictures and videos that capture the sexual abuse of children are now more common and easier to access than ever; perpetrators can search for, send, sell, purchase, or download CSAM from all over the country or the world with just the click of a button, all from the privacy of their home. In 2021 alone, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline received reports including 84.9 million images and videos of CSAM.

On a state level, between technology’s pervasive presence and convenience, the commercial sexual exploitation of children through CSAM continues to threaten the most vulnerable in our Commonwealth at alarming levels. In Pennsylvania, between 2018 and 2022,   were between the ages of 19-35, and 47% were charged with child pornography.

Just as children cannot legally consent to being bought and sold for sex, they cannot consent to having images of their abuse recorded and distributed. Every explicit photo or video of a child is actually evidence that the child has been a victim of sexual abuse.

The CSE Institute commends the collaborative efforts of PSP and North Carolina’s ICAC Task Force to investigate and hold Pearsall responsible for his crimes against children. We encourage law enforcement to continue taking steps to protect children in our communities by conducting investigations into child sexual abuse. As TikTok and other social media outlets increasingly serve as popular forums for the recruitment, grooming, and abuse of children, the CSE Institute encourages law enforcement to diligently investigate any suspicious activity.

The CSE Institute will continue to provide updates on this matter as it proceeds.

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.

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