June 6, 2014

Three suspected child predators arrested on unrelated charges

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the arrest of three men this week on unrelated charges as part of ongoing efforts to target the online sharing, downloading and distribution of child pornography.

 The defendants are identified as:

  • Christopher Gross, 53, 609 South Sterling Road, South Sterling, Wayne County;
  • Patrick Gardinor, 30, 83 Maxwell St., Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County;
  • Michael Geer, 32, 1 Harmony Place, Warren, Warren County.

Christopher Gross

 6-6-14 Christopher Gross
Christopher Gross

The charges state that agents, who were conducting an online investigation, identified a computer on a peer-to-peer network making several media files - believed to depict child pornography - available for download. The computer's IP address was later identified as serving Gross's South Sterling residence.

Agents executed a search warrant at Gross's home and seized computers, which were previewed by the Office of Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit and found to contain thousands of images and videos of suspected child pornography.

Gross was taken into custody on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, and charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was held in the Wayne County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 11, 2014.

The case will be prosecuted in Wayne County by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Patrick Gardinor
According to the criminal complaint, Gardinor used a peer-to-peer network in order to make files - containing prepubescent children engaged in graphic sexual acts - available for download. Agents conducting an undercover investigation successfully downloaded one of those files and identified Gardinor as the source through the computer's IP addres.

 6-6-14 Patrick Gardinor
Patrick Gardinor

A search of Gardinor's Wilkes-Barre residence resulted in the seizure of two computers. Agents from the Office of Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit previewed the seized items and located more than 50 video files containing suspected child pornography.

Gardinor was arrested on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, and charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.  He was held in the Luzerne County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 12, 2014.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Wilkes-Barre Police Department for its assistance with the investigation. The case will be prosecuted in Luzerne County by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Michael Geer
Agents from the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section along with officers from the City of Warren Police Department arrested Geer on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, following an online investigation into the distribution of child pornography.

 6-6-14 Michael Geer
Michael Geer

According to the criminal complaint, agents successfully downloaded several files, which depicted children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually graphic acts and poses. Investigators were able to track the computer's IP address and identified Geer's computer as the source for the graphic files.

A search of Geer's Warren residence resulted in the seizure of two computers, which upon initial viewing, were found to contain more than 100 files of suspected child pornography, including images of children as young as 6 years old engaged in graphic sexual poses.

Geer is charged with eight counts of distribution of child pornography, eight counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. He was preliminarily arraigned before Warren Magisterial District Judge Glenn Carlson and held on $50,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on June 11, 2014.

Attorney General Kane thanked the City of Warren Police Department for its assistance with the investigation. The case will be prosecuted in Warren County by Deputy Attorney General Courtney Butterfield of the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Reporting Internet Predators
Suspected Internet predators can be reported to the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. Internet safety tips are available on the "Operation Safe Surf" section of www.attorneygeneral.gov. Organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations should contact the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at education@attorneygeneral.gov.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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