Predator Possessed Child Pornography through Pinterest App
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that a former York County police officer pled guilty to possession of child pornography. Chad Howell, 38, of Dillsburg, entered a guilty plea to four counts of Possession of Child Pornography and one count of Criminal Use of Communication Facility in front of Judge Harry Ness in York County Court of Common Pleas. As a result, he will have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 15 years.
Howell was arrested in February 2017 after the Office of Attorney General investigated several Cyber Tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about suspected child sexual exploitation. The investigation determined that Howell possessed several photos of nude underage girls ranging in age from 8-15 years old. Many of these images were found in Howell’s Pinterest social media application on his personal iPhone.
At the time of his arrest, Howell was employed as a police officer with the West Manchester Township Police Department. One of his Pinterest usernames even included his badge number. He was put on unpaid administrative leave after his arrest and was terminated shortly thereafter. He was previously employed by the York City police department.
“My Office will prosecute anyone who preys on children, without fear or favor,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “The defendant was a police officer, but instead of protecting the people he was sworn to serve, he was participating in the online exploitation of children. As a result of the hard work of our Child Predator Section, he no longer holds a position of public trust and will have to register as a sex offender.”
Sentencing was scheduled for July 29th pending an evaluation by the Sexual Offender’s Assessment Board. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General David Drumheller. Anyone who has information about child predators is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section at 1-800-385-1044.
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