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

August 25, 2014

Three suspected child predators arrested on unrelated charges

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the arrest of two Pennsylvania men and a New Jersey man on unrelated charges as part of ongoing efforts to target the online sharing and distribution of child pornography. 

 2014_08_22_Conroy_Thomas
Thomas Conroy

 2014_08_22_Wedl_Michael
Michael Wedl

 2014_08_19_FarenceJr_Charles
Charles Farence Jr.

Attorney General Kane in 2013 requested and received funding from the legislature to create a state-of-the-art facility with agents and attorneys devoted exclusively to identifying, arresting and prosecuting child predators. The latest arrests occurred over the past week in Dauphin, Fayette and Northampton counties.

Thomas Conroy
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas Conroy, 54, 18 Grouse Mountain Road, Blairstown, New Jersey, 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 three of those files and identified Conroy's Northampton County place of business as the source through the computer's IP address. 

A search of Conroy's business resulted in the seizure of a desktop computer, which contained more than 20 images and videos of apparent child pornography.

Conroy was taken into custody by agents from the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. He is charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

He was held in the Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail ? 10 percent. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12, 2014. The case will be prosecuted in Northampton County by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for its assistance with the investigation.

Michael Wedl
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 the home of Michael Wedl, 58, 288 Edison St., Uniontown, Fayette County.

Wedl was arrested on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, and charged with three counts of distribution of child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. Wedl's bond was set at $50,000 cash. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 27, 2014.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for its assistance with the investigation.

Charles Farence Jr.
Charles Farence Jr., 50, 3936 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, Dauphin County, was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, following an undercover investigation into the dissemination of child pornography. Agents, who were conducting an online investigation, identified a computer on a peer-to-peer network sharing media files believed to depict explicit images of children.

According to the criminal complaint, agents successfully downloaded one of those files, which depicted children engaged in graphic sexual acts and or poses. The computer's IP address was identified as serving Farence's Harrisburg residence.

Agents, along with members of the Susquehanna Township Police Department, executed a search of the home and seized a large amount of computer equipment, including a full server and external hard drives, which were located within duct work in the basement of the home. More than 200 images and 200 videos of apparent child pornography were located by computer forensics agents.

Farence Jr. is charged with 25 counts of possession of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2014. The case will be prosecuted in Dauphin County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones of the Office of Attorney General's Child Predator Section.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Susquehanna Township Police Department for its assistance with the investigation.

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. Anonymous tips can also be sent directly from a cell phone by texting PAKIDS + YOUR TIP to 847411 or through an online complaint form.
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.)

# # #