Maryland Music Teacher Get 4 Years for Child Pornography Possession

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Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang today sentenced Charles Victor Kopfstein-Penk, age 75, of Bethesda, Maryland, to 54 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession of child pornography.  As part of his plea agreement, Kopfstein-Penk was ordered to pay $144,000 in restitution to 35 victims.  Kopfstein-Penk, a music teacher who gave lessons out of his home, pleaded guilty to the federal charge on February 10, 2020.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

According to his plea agreement, on March 5, 2019, Maryland State Police were conducting an investigation on an online peer-to-peer network for individuals sharing and downloading child pornography.  An IP address associated with Kopfstein-Penk’s residence was requesting blocks of suspected child pornography files.

As detailed in the plea agreement, on May 21, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Kopfstein-Penk’s residence.  Kopfstein-Penk was present and agreed to speak to officers at the scene.  Kopfstein-Penk admitted to using file-sharing software for approximately 10 years to download child pornography from the Internet and stated that he had been collecting child pornography files for over 20 years.  An on-scene preview of a computer located in Kopfstein-Penk’s office revealed over 400,000 files of suspected child pornography.  Kopfstein-Penk directed law enforcement to five external hard drives that he also used to store child pornography.  A subsequent forensic analysis of the computer and external storage media revealed that Kopfstein-Penk possessed over 1,126,000 images and over 6,800 videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including images of child pornography involving prepubescent minors and some material involving the portrayal of sadistic or masochistic conduct against children.

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 Attorney’s 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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.

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United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, the Maryland State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev Raghavan and Timothy Hagan, who prosecuted the federal case.

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