(Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 08--A Pike County man faces 300 counts of possession of child pornography after investigators discovered his desktop allegedly contained more than 300,000 sexual images and videos of children, the state Attorney General's Office said Friday.
The arrest came at the same time as the Pike County District Attorney's Office announced the separate arrest of a 42-year-old Bushkill man, Bryson Shayne Hood, for unrelated child pornography allegations.
William Tardella, 66, of 181 VanAuken Hill Road, in Milford, was arrested March 4 and charged with 300 counts of possession of child pornography, 30 counts of distributing child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
Agents conducting an undercover investigation into the online sharing of child pornography identified a computer sharing numerous files that contained suspected child pornography, according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators determined that the files, which depicted children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually graphic acts and poses, were allegedly being shared from Tardella's computer.
13- to 20-year-olds
Agents conducted surveillance Jan. 28 at Tardella's Milford home, and executed a search warrant March 4. They found a computer room, and Tardella soon returned to the home, at first denying knowledge of computer crimes.
When agents explained they were investigating child pornography, Tardella acknowledged involvement over the past two or three years through file-sharing software, the complaint said. He said he saved files onto his desktop computer as recently as the week before his arrest.
Tardella told agents he searched terms such as "Lolita," "young" and "preteen" and said he understood that file-sharing networks allowed anyone to obtain the files he saved.
He also described himself as an above-average computer user, with many extra storage hard drives on his desktop.
Tardella said he preferred "13- to 20-year-old" girls, and deleted files depicting younger children.
But he later told investigators that he obtained images and videos of children as young as toddlers.
He told investigators he viewed the child pornography to "pass time" and had a "sexual feeling," but denied masturbating to them due to medical complications.
Told himself to stop
Agents seized a laptop and desktop computer at the home.
In a forensic preview examination, the desktop contained more than 300,000 images and videos of sexual abuse of children and child pornography.
Tardella said he constantly told himself to stop looking at the pornography and felt "bad" doing it, the complaint said.
Tardella was preliminarily arraigned and held in the Pike County Correctional Facility in lieu of $200,000 bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 26.
The case will be prosecuted in Pike County by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo of the Attorney General's Child Predator Section.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane thanked the Pennsylvania State Police at Blooming Grove and the Pennsylvania State Police Northeast Computer Crime Task Force for their help with the investigation.
Tardella was one of five men arrested as part of the investigation. The others were from Westmoreland, Franklin and Northumberland counties.
Hood, of Lehman Township, faces separate charges of distributing and possessing child pornography, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin announced Friday.
The County Detective Bureau along with state police arrested Hood as the result of a joint investigation of the Pike County District Attorney's Office, Monroe County District Attorney's Office, Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.
Hood faces 14 counts of possession of child pornography, four counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
All of the charges are felonies.
According to the criminal complaint, Tonkin said, the Pike County Detective's Bureau obtained a search warrant for Hood's residence after an undercover investigation.
During the search of the residence, members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force located child pornography on a cellphone in the house.
During the investigation, detectives learned Hood had been sharing the files over the Internet.
Hood was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Shannon Muir, and is being held in the Pike County Correctional Facility in lieu of $150,000 bail.