Wednesday, August 10, 2016
PITTSBURGH - A Brentwood resident was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges of production, receipt, and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The three-count indictment named Mukesh Khawas, age 29, of Pittsburgh, PA, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, from June 14, 2016, to June 15, 2016, Khawas produced visual depictions and images of the sexual exploitation of a minor. The indictment further alleges that from June 14, 2016, to June 15, 2016, Khawas knowingly received images containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. The indictment further alleges that from June 14, 2016, to June 15, 2016, Khawas knowingly possessed and knowingly accessed with intent to view images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age.
The law provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment for the production, receipt, and possession of child pornography counts, a fine of $765,000.00, and a term of up to a lifetime of supervised release. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and the West Virginia State Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.