Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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July 30, 2008


Attorney General Corbett announces Internet Predator arrests in Franklin, Lancaster, Mercer & Adams counties; 153 total arrests by Predator Unit


07-31-2008 CPU Pensinger

Charles Dean Pensinger
 
 

07-30-2008 CPU Shutter

  Monte Ray Schutter
 

07-30-2008 CPU Kerns

John Lee Kerns
 

07-31-2008 CPU Cool

 Kevin Michael Cool

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested men in Franklin, Lancaster, Mercer and Adams counties.  The men are accused of using the Internet to sexually proposition what they believed were teenage girls, sending sexually explicit photos and webcam videos to the  girls or possession of illegal child pornography. 

Corbett identified the defendants as Charles Dean Pensinger, 32, 705 Cumberland Ave., Chambersburg, Franklin County; Monte Ray Schutter, 55, 16 Egret Circle, Denver, Lancaster County; John Lee Kerns, 29, 516 Stevenson Road, Greenville, Mercer County; and Kevin Michael Cool, 25, 219 South St., Hanover, Adams County.

 Corbett said that Pensinger, Schutter and Kerns are all accused of using Internet chat rooms to contact and sexually proposition what they believed were 13 or 14-year old girls.  The "girls" were actually undercover agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit who were using the online profiles of children. 

Corbett said that Kevin Cool has been charged with 36 counts of possession of illegal child pornography, based on an analysis of his computer which was seized during an April 2008 arrest by the Child Predator Unit. 

Charles Dean Pensinger
Corbett said that Pensinger, using the screen name "bigdayyohhhh," allegedly used an Internet chat room to approach an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a 14-year old girl.  During their first online conversation, Pensinger allegedly sent the girl a webcam video that showed him nude and masturbating in front of his computer.

Pensinger was arrested at his home on July 17, 2008, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Chambersburg Police Department.

Pensinger is charged with one count of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene or sexual performances) and one count of criminal use of a computer, both third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Pensinger will be prosecuted in Franklin County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.

Monte Ray Schutter
Corbett said that Schutter, using the screen name "sepennsylvania2006straightmale," "santaclaus2007santaclaus," and "mark_jones17517," allegedly used Internet chat rooms to approach two different undercover agents from the Child Predator Unit.  The agents were using the online profiles of 13 and 14-year old girls.

According to the criminal charges, Schutter commented on the girls' young ages and asked them where they lived - at one point claiming to be a 20-year old man from the Lancaster area.  He also allegedly expressed a desire to meet them for sex once they turned 18 years old.

Corbett said that during his communication with both undercover agents, Schutter allegedly sent nude webcam videos to the "girls" during their first online conversations and later sent multiple videos that showed him nude and masturbating in front of his computer. 

Schutter was arrested at his home on July 22, 2008, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the East Cocalico Township Police Department.

Shutter is charged with nine counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene or sexual performances) and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Schutter will be prosecuted in Lancaster County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
 
John Lee Kerns
Corbett said that Kerns, using the screen name "mercer_county_male," used an Internet chat room to approach an undercover agent who was using the online profile of a 13-year old girl.  During their first chat, Kerns allegedly sent the girl a photo of an exposed penis, asking her, "think it would fit," and, "I'd love to get u pregnant."

According to the criminal complaint, Kerns sent the girl a webcam video that showed him naked and masturbating in front of his computer.  Kerns also allegedly expressed a desire to meet the girl for sex and described in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform with her.

Kerns was arrested on July 25, 2008, in Mercer County, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police from the Mercer Barracks.

Kerns is charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene or sexual performances) and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

Kerns will be prosecuted in Mercer County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye II, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.

Kevin Michael Cool
Corbett said that Cool was re-arrested by agents from the Child Predator Unit on July 28th, on criminal charges related to the possession of illegal child pornography. 

Corbett explained that the new charges which were filed against Cool are a direct result of a search of his computer, which was seized on April 8th when Cool was arrested as part of an undercover investigation by the Child Predator Unit. 

At the time of his April arrest, Cool was accused of using Internet chat rooms to pose as a lesbian and sexually proposition what he believed was a 14-year old girl.  He was also charged with sending nude or sexually explicit photos to the "girl," who was actually an agent from the Child Predator Unit.

Corbett said the most recent criminal charges against Cool involve images of suspected illegal child pornography which were located during an analysis of Cool's computer by the Attorney General's Computer Forensics Unit.  The images allegedly depict children under the age of 18 either nude or engaging in sexual activity.

Cool is charged with 36 counts of sexual abuse of children (related to child pornography), all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.

As the result of his April arrest, Cool is also charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one count of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine..

Cool will be prosecuted in Adams County by Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sprow, of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
 
Summer Danger - "Operation Summer Surf"
Corbett said that the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit has arrested 153 Internet predators since it was created in January 2005, including 37 arrests since the beginning of this year.

At the start of the summer Corbett was joined by representatives from the Pennsylvania Parent Teacher Association, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, to launch "Operation Summer Surf" - reminding parents and teens across Pennsylvania to regularly discuss online safety and remain vigilant this summer.

Corbett said that there was a notable increase in the number of Internet predators arrested by the Attorney General's Office last summer - a total of 17 arrests between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2007, including men who traveled from as far away as Kentucky in order to have sexual contact with children.  Corbett said the number of arrests in the summer of 2007 was nearly double the number of arrests from the previous summer. 

Since the start of this summer, Corbett says the Child Predator Unit has made nine arrests, nearly all involving "webcam predators" - men who send sexually graphic photos or webcam videos to what they believe are children.

Corbett added that undercover agents have reported an increase in the number of Internet predators questioning children about their summer vacation plans, or asking them about times where they may be home alone, as part of discussions about meeting the children or sending them sexually graphic videos.

Operation Summer Surf is an expansion of the Attorney General's popular "Operation Safe Surf" Internet safety education program, which was created in October 2006 and has now reached nearly 160,000 children and adults from across the state.

Corbett said that today's teens have grown up with the Internet and have never known a world without it, making "surfing" a part of their life that they often take for granted. Operation Summer Surf emphasizes that the same rules of Internet safety apply not just to September through June, but throughout the summer months as well.

"Predators will always be drawn to locations that give them the greatest access to the largest number of potential victims," Corbett said. "Today, they stalk a variety of online sites, including chat rooms; social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook; Internet message boards; video game sites; and even online classified ads on Craigslist.com."

Corbett noted that the techniques used by Internet predators change rapidly, spurred by developments in communication technology and changes in where and how children communicate online.  He added that predators will communicate with children in many different ways, using public or private online chat rooms, instant message programs, text messages, email, cell phones and webcams.

"It is essential for parents to understand how quickly online conversations can progress from initial contact to sexually explicit content," Corbett said. "Often, predators will begin a sexually graphic discussion within minutes of contacting a child, and many suspects transmit nude photos or explicit videos during their first online meeting."

Corbett encouraged parents to discuss Internet safety with their children, including the danger of meeting strangers who approach them online. He also advised that parents ask their children to show them what they are doing online, setting ground rules for summer online communication to help kids use the Internet safely and in a responsible manner.

Operation Safe Surf and Operation Summer Surf materials are provided free-of-charge to schools and community groups.  Organizations interested in materials, speakers or presentations, contact the Attorney General's Education and Outreach Office at 1-800-525-7642 or via email at education@attorneygeneral.gov

Suspected internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General's Office by calling the toll-free Child Predator Hotline, at 1-800-385-1044, or filing an online complaint using the Attorney General's website: www.attorneygeneral.gov  (Click on the "Report an Internet Predator" link, located on the front page of the website)

Internet safety tips and other information for parents, children and teachers are available in the "Operation Safe Surf" and "Just for Kids" sections of the Attorney General's website. (Click on the "Kids, Parents & Schools" link at the top of the front page)

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

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