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Lehighton man faces over 40 counts of child pornography

Published August 02. 2019 12:34PM

A Lehighton man faces over 40 counts of child pornography.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Daniel Block, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General:

Block received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and learned that Facebook reported that an image of apparent child pornography was uploaded to a Facebook account.

Block viewed the image included within the CyberTip, and on Aug. 21, 2018, an administrative subpoena was sent to PenTeleData requesting information pertaining to an IP address.

On Aug. 23, Block received a response with customer information. The IP address was first seen on May 2, 2018, and last seen on June 7, 2018, and the provider identified the subscriber being reported as Damian Smith, 26, of the 300 block of South Third Street.

On June 18 of this year, Block received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Block conducted surveillance at the home, and on Wednesday, a search warrant for the address was signed by Senior District Judge Edward M. Lewis.

At 7:15 a.m. Thursday, agents from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Troopers, and Agents from Homeland Security executed the search warrant at the home.

Smith opened the rear door and was then interviewed regarding this incident.

Smith was advised of his Miranda Rights, and he indicated that he understood his rights.

He then said that he would answer questions without counsel being present, and signed an Advice of Rights form.

Smith was asked if he would give consent to allow agents to access his cellphone, to which he consented.

The interview initially occurred outside the residence, then Smith asked for privacy and consented to being transported to the local police station to discuss this investigation where the interview resumed.

During the interview, Smith stated his email address, and that his Facebook name is “Jonny Hammersticks” and has been for over three years.

He said he lived at the address off and on his whole life, however was specifically there during May of 2018.

Smith also admitted to searching for, downloading, saving, viewing and masturbating to child pornography several times a week for the past few years.

He said he was actually viewing child pornography about two hours before Block knocked on his door.

Smith said he looks at images of child pornography because they are innocent and their innocence is being taken away, and that it reminds him of when his innocence was taken.

Smith consented to an audio recorded statement.

He also said that he has a panty collection, and that he would take panties from laundry baskets or hampers of female friends without their knowledge.

A state police trooper performed a forensics preview on Smith’s cellphone and the micro SD card located inside the phone.

During this preview, it was discovered that Smith had at least 40 images of apparent child pornography which depicted prepubescent children engaging in sexual acts and depicting indecent contact with the children.

Smith faces charges on 40 counts of possession of child pornography; two counts of dissemination of child pornography; and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

He is currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $300,000 bail, and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Aug. 14 before District Judge Eric M. Schrantz of Jim Thorpe.

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