Punxsutawney Man Pleads Guilty to Obscenity Charge in Project Safe Childhood Case

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to a charge of transporting obscene writing over the internet, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Dominic Runco, age 69, pleaded guilty to one count of Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters in violation of Title 18 United States Code Section 1462 before United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on or about October 28, 2020 to on or about November 25, 2020, Runco knowingly sent obscene writing describing in explicit and graphic detail the sexual abuse of children to other individuals over email and in a chatroom.

Judge Horan scheduled sentencing for October 4, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 5 years, a fine not to exceed $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Karen Gal-Or is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Dominic Runco.